Saquan Miller drives toward the basket as he scored 34 points in Polk’s last game. (photo by Mark Schmerling)
Saquan Miller drives toward the basket as he scored 34 points in Polk’s last game. (photo by Mark Schmerling)

Polk and Landrum meet in rivalry game tonight

Published 5:33pm Thursday, December 5, 2013

By Mark Schmerling

Expect intensity, great athleticism and a big crowd when Polk County hosts Landrum in high school basketball action tonight, Friday, Dec. 6.

Women’s varsity begins at 6:30 p.m., with the men’s teams facing off at 8 p.m.

Also look for continuing improvement in the men’s team, which began its regular season on Nov. 25, by defeating East Henderson, 60-43.

This past Tuesday, Dec. 3 Coach Josh McEntire’s squad lost a barnburner to visiting North Henderson, 69-66, in overtime, after tying the game late in regulation.

Polk upped its early-season mark to 2-1, defeating Chase, 56-42, in non-conference action, Wednesday.

In spite of having some real talent (sophomore Jamal Tanner led all players with 34 points Dec. 3), the Wolverines had only one practice as a whole team before North Henderson came to town. The success, and extended season, of Polk’s football team, on which, several of McEntire’s charges also competed, was a factor.

Dec. 3, the Wolverines led 15-12 after the first quarter and scored the next three points as well. While Polk later had some trouble putting the ball through the net, the Knights fared better, taking a 33-26 halftime advantage. After three, Polk had cut the visitors’ lead to 45-43.

With the game tied at 60 near the end of regulation, Saquan Miller stole the ball and fed to Tanner who sank it, to put the Wolverines up, 62-60.  A North Henderson basket shortly before the buzzer forced a four minute overtime. Less-than-stellar shooting from the foul line didn’t help the Wolverines. In any case, the crowd got to see two intense teams fight each other to the wire.

“We didn’t shoot that well,” McEntire said. “We played really hard (but) we couldn’t put the ball in. That’s what happens in early-season basketball, with only one practice. It (the lack of practice) was definitely a factor. We had some really good moments, but we made too many mistakes.”

McEntire said North Henderson already had played three games before this one, and, because their football team had been eliminated earlier, had practiced together for about four weeks.

“We’re very athletic, but we have to slow it down a bit,” McEntire said.

Of tonight’s game against the Cardinals, he said, “That will be a huge rival game.”

“It’s a big rivalry,” remarked Landrum Athletic Director John Cann. “It’s a good atmosphere.”

Cann said in the past, the teams would play at Polk on Friday, and at Landrum the next week. In spite of Friday being more conducive for drawing the largest crowds, Cann anticipates plenty of people in the stands next Tuesday as well. He also expects lots of Landrum fans on hand at Polk tonight.

Since 2004, Polk has won 30 of 41 men’s and women’s games between the two schools, but tonight’s results are unpredictable as forecasting the weather for a day three months out.

Both Landrum varsity teams won their respective games against Woodruff earlier this week. Next Tuesday (Dec. 10) both Polk teams travel to Landrum for a repeat of intense play.

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