Wolverines can’t slow undefeated Cougars in conference setback

Polk County needed a perfect game Tuesday to keep pace with undefeated Mountain Heritage. For a quarter, the Wolverines nearly had just that.

But the Cougars had too much firepower in the end for the Wolverines, pulling away to claim a 77-32 victory in a Western Highlands Conference matchup at Polk.

Ranked fourth in this week’s NCPreps.com poll and seventh in the latest MaxPreps Adjusted Power Ratings, Mountain Heritage (15-0, 5-0) limited Polk County (6-11, 2-3) to just 10 second-half points, building a final score that didn’t reflect the Wolverines’ early success.

Polk matched baskets with Mountain Heritage throughout the first quarter, even producing some points inside despite the Cougars’ front line of 6-10 Justus Shelton, 6-6 Logan Higgins and 6-5 Levi Higgins.

A short Brett Bagwell jumper from the baseline made it a 12-12 game with 3:23 left in the first quarter. Mountain Heritage’s Callin Randolph answered a minute late with one of his seven 3-pointers, and the Cougars would never trail again.

Polk trailed just 20-14 at the end of the first, but Mountain Heritage built the margin to 39-22 at the half, then steadily pulled away over the final two quarters as Polk struggled to score.

Carson had seven points to lead the Wolverines, with Tyler Staley, Bryson Edwards and Keyandre Thomas each scoring five. Thomas also had seven rebounds.

Shaq Wingo and Wesley Royster each had three points while Omar Carson and Bagwell each had two.

Randolph had 23 points to lead four Mountain Heritage players in double figures.

Polk County returns to the court on Wednesday, traveling to Bessemer City for a non-conference matchup.

Polk County’s Bryson Edwards eyes the basket during a fast-break opportunity in Tuesday’s matchup

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