Josh Money saw a lot to like in his first game as Polk County Middle’s head boys basketball coach.
The Wolverines closed the second period with a 13-2 run, then kept that momentum going in the final two quarters en route to a 44-20 victory over Canton Middle in Monday’s season opener.
Polk Middle took a 5-4 lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed again, though Canton did make it a 9-8 game in the early stages of the second quarter.
The Wolverines, though, began to control the boards and force a number of Canton fouls during second-chance opportunities. Polk Middle shot 11 free throws in the second quarter, with Avery Harden hitting two of those late in the period before Wyatt Cooley scored back-to-back baskets in the final minute to give Polk a 22-10 lead at halftime.
“For the first game of the year, I thought they looked good,” Money said. “Usually you see kids with first game jitters and guys are going crazy, but we kept things under control.
“We outrebounded them. Our guys were relentless on the boards and they hustled on defense.”
Harden hit a layup early in the third period, then Gunnar Alm scored three straight baskets and Karlan McEntyre hit a pair of free throws to give Polk a 32-12 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Antonio Simpson scored 14 points to lead Polk Middle, with Alm adding eight points and Harden finishing with seven. Cooley added six, with McIntyre following with five. Isaiah Spears had three points and Keaundre Green had one for the Wolverines.
Polk Middle travels Thursday to Apple Valley Middle for another Blue Ridge Conference clash.