Polk men beat Mitchell 83-74Published 10:29pm Thursday, February 6, 2014
by Mark Schmerling
When Polk County’s men’s basketball team met Mitchell in Columbus on Wednesday evening, the Wolverines anticipated that the Mountaineers might be tired from their recent game against Hendersonville.
The Wolverines’ strategy was to outrun Mitchell, and they did, earning an 83-74 win.
They did it with Jamal Tanner’s game-high 28 points. They did it by sinking a dozen three-point shots. And they did it without the typical contributions of Jaron Bontrager, who is out until at least Monday with a concussion suffered in the Avery game (a 73-50 loss for Polk on Jan. 31).
“For the first time this year, we actually shot the ball well,” said coach Josh McEntire. “It’s huge to get a conference win at home,” McEntire continued, noting that each conference win means a better seed in the post season. “I like our chances,” said McEntire.
The Wolverines are 2-7 in the conference, and 6-12 overall, but have four games remaining, including tonight’s game at Columbus against Owen.
They host West Henderson on Monday, Feb. 10; travel to Hendersonville on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and to Owen on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Polk jumped to a 17-12 lead after the first quarter, and built that into a 50-26 advantage at the half. Jordan Smith’s three-point shot ended the first period. Early in the second quarter, Smith and Tanner hit successive three-pointers. Wes Brady and Saquan Miller added three-point shots in that period. Miller finished with 13 points.
In the third quarter, the Wolverines faltered, but did not fall apart, as Mitchell outscored them, 28-4. While the visitors hit some three-pointers to close the gap late, Polk out-energized the Mountaineers.
“The key to this game,” said McEntire, “and every game, is energy.”
He said Polk’s strategy was “Let’s get them going up and down the court.”
Appropriately, the Wolverines, played furiously from start to finish.
“It proves that we have kids who can shoot the ball when they have confidence,” McEntire added.