Polk County opened the first half Friday with a series of never-going-to-miss 3-pointers. Owen opened the second half with a similar flurry.
Fortunately for the Wolverines, their on-target run lasted just a bit longer.
Polk County honored Polk Central’s 1977 boys and girls basketball teams and gave both a show, Tyler Staley’s 3-point marksmanship helping lift the Wolverines to a 70-57 win over the Warhorses.
The Western Highlands Conference triumph improved the Wolverines to 6-9 overall, 2-1 in conference play. Those two conference wins match the combined total the program accumulated in the past three seasons, and the victory was Polk’s first home regular-season conference win since Jan. 26, 2016.
The first six minutes of Friday’s matchup largely decided its outcome. Staley buried four 3-pointers and Bryson Edwards added two more as the Wolverines seemingly couldn’t miss. Meanwhile, Owen (4-9, 1-1) couldn’t get anything going offensively, allowing Polk to build a 22-4 lead by the end of the quarter.
“The basket looked as big as a refrigerator to Tyler tonight,” said Polk County head coach Lemont Jones. “He felt good.”
The Wolverines held serve in the second period and went to the half with a 19-point halftime lead, but Owen apparently drank a little of Staley’s water during the break.
The Warhorses roared out of the dressing room, hit five 3-pointers in the third and cut the 19-point gap to four in just over four minutes. Two free throws by Dominique Carson and a Shaq Wingo 3-pointer pushed the lead back to nine, but Owen trimmed the gap back to five at the end of the period.
Polk County, though, opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run, capped by a Staley 3-pointer, to grab a 50-40 lead. Staley hit his final three of the night moments later and then Carson, back from an injury, took over, scoring 11 points in the fourth to make certain Owen wouldn’t be able to rally.
“We’ve been averaging seven and a half points in the first quarter, and I told the guys we can’t be slow starters,” Jones said. “The kids played well. We got Dominique back on track a little bit.
“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes and we put a little ball pressure on them and they lost a few possessions.”
Staley finished with 22 points, his six 3-pointers just one shy of the school record. Carson added 20 points that included a 10-of-14 effort at the foul line.
Edwards had nine points, with Keyandre Thomas scoring seven points with 10 rebounds. Wingo, Wesley Royster and Brett Bagwell each scored four points for Polk.
The Wolverines next travel to Mitchell on Friday for a key WHC clash between two of the league’s 1A programs.