Three games may offer too small a sample to draw any definite conclusions about Polk County’s boys basketball squad.
But one trend has begun to emerge from the Wolverines’ early-season outings – Polk County may have a number of ways to beat opponents this season.
Jordan Smith sparked a key second-quarter run and Wes Brady a similar spurt in the third period as Polk County bounced back from Tuesday’s overtime loss to North Henderson with a 56-42 victory over Chase in non-conference play at Polk.
One night after a 34-point outing, sophomore Jamal Tanner had a team-high 15 points to lead Polk (2-1). Brady had 11 and Smith had 10, each playing a key role in helping the Wolverines build a second-half lead as large as 17 points.
“I told them after the game that we’re talented enough that you can’t get frustrated when you’re not playing well, that someone will step up,” said Polk head coach Josh McEntire. “In our first game Jaron (Bontrager) played well. Last night Jamal and Saquan (Miller) played well. Tonight Jordan and Wes played well.
“If you’re not having a good night, don’t worry about it. Don’t get frustrated. That’s what being a team is all about.”
Polk County built an 11-6 lead at the end of the first period, then began to inch away in the second, pulling out to an 18-10 lead midway through the quarter. Tanner then hit a 3-pointer from the wing before Smith buried back-to-back 3-pointers, helping carry Polk to a 29-16 halftime lead.
The margin stood at 34-26 when Brady went to work in the third period. Operating in the low post, Brady scored the game’s next seven points, taking advantage of great entry passes to score on a layup, a half-hook and three free throws when fouled during short attempts. Miller added two more free throws in the final minute as the Wolverines raced to a 43-26 lead.
“Wes came to every fall workout we had, and I told him that he was going to be our most versatile player,” McEntire said. “He had played outside, but I told him I also wanted him to be able to play inside, so we worked on his post moves. It paid off tonight, as he was able to back his man down and make some good moves.”
Chase (2-1) rallied to within nine at 47-38 with 3:14 left in the fourth quarter. But Bontrager hit a free throw, Smith hit two more and Tanner scored on two drives to the basket in a 7-2 run that pushed the lead back to 54-40 with 1:26 left.
Polk County Scoring
Jamal Tanner 15, Wes Brady 11, Jordan Smith 10, Saquan Miller 8, Wes Mullis 5, Jaron Bontrager 5, Jason Chupp 2
Boykins 12, Lancaster 11, Freeman 6, Squires 5, Young 4, Wright 2, McSwain 2