Polk County ramped up its defensive pressure and snapped its eight-game losing streak Saturday with an emphatic 56-34 victory over Australia Storm in the third-place game of the Timberwolf Holiday Classic in Mount Gilead.
The Wolverines (3-8) raced to a 30-8 halftime lead thanks in large part to a first quarter in which the Australian team failed to score. The cushion allowed Polk to survive a third-quarter rally by the Storm and hold on to the win.
“The Australia Storm team was very physical and tough with a lot of rugby-type players,” said Polk County head coach Lemont Jones. “They played with emotional toughness, something we haven’t seen, but we responded early and pitched a shutout in the quarter.
“Australia stormed back in the third quarter and got our attention with some aggressive play, which our team responded to and held its own again.”
Bryson Edwards earned all-tournament honors and led Polk County with 18 points and six steals. Keyandre Thomas had 10 points and six steals, with Wesley Royster adding nine points and four assists.
Max Perkins also had nine points, with Tyler Staley scoring five and grabbing five rebounds, Shaq Wingo scoring three and Brett Bagwell adding two. Polk County played without leading scorer Dominique Carson, who missed the tourney with an injury.
Polk County’s focus for the trip wasn’t just basketball; the Wolverines also visited UNC Greensboro as part of a pair of cultural outings.
“We were able to take a tour of the UNCG campus and one of their assistant basketball coaches also toured and educated our team on basketball life as both student and as an athlete at the collegiate level,” Jones said.
“We also had the opportunity to visit and tour around a camp site and watch an 18-minute documentary on the Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead. On behalf of our team, we would like to thank our administration and our school board personnel for allowing us to participate in this event.”
Polk County will open Western Athletic Conference play on Friday, hosting Avery.