Polk men overtake Madison 54-50 on basketball court

Published 10:14 pm Sunday, February 2, 2014

by Mark Schmerling

With two full weeks of action coming up, the Polk’s men’s basketball team’s 54-50 come-from-behind win against visiting Madison on Thursday evening, could hardly have been better timed.

Jamal Tanner, recently back in the lineup, after nursing a hand injury, poured in 27 points, including Polk’s last eight, and Coach Josh McEntire’s squad played fierce defense throughout, to keep the game close.

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The win brought the Wolverines’ record to 5-10, before Friday’s contest at Avery.

Polk’s luke-warm shooting, and so-so rebounding allowed Madison to build an early 13-6 lead. However, baskets by Jaron Bontrager (10 points), Tanner, and Anthony Carson, closed the gap to 15-11 after the first quarter.

At the half, Madison could manage just a 31-25 advantage, and the Wolverines hadn’t really warmed up.

For the first three minutes or so of the third quarter, Polk couldn’t buy a basket, and Madison held a 38-25 advantage. Shortly after, however, Tanner’s 3-pointer reduced the gap to 38-30. By the end of that period, Polk trailed by 42-33.

Better times were coming– and soon. Polk was playing like a team.

Five straight Polk points, cut the visitors’ lead to 42-38. The Wolverines missed fourteen free throws on the night, and couldn’t retrieve enough rebounds, but their defense stymied the Patriots. With five minutes left in the game, Carson sank a basket to tie the contest at 46. Shortly after, an inbound Ally-oop inbound pass to, and basket by, Tanner, cut Madison’s advantage to 50-48, and Polk fans could sniff a win.

With about two and one-half minutes remaining, Tanner’s three-point basket gave Polk its first lead of the night, at 51-50. With 30 seconds to go, Tanner made a layup, and was fouled, but he missed the one shot. Regardless, Polk led 53-50. From there, Madison could have made a three pointer to ties; they could have made another couple of field goals. They could have won the game at the foul line. That they didn’t, is the result of the never-quit (yet careful) defense that kept Polk in the game earlier.

With four seconds to go, Tanner took the 3-point weapon out of Madison’s hands, when he was fouled, and made one of two from the line, to end the scoring at 54-50.

“I was happy as could be,” said McEntire after the game. “We fought back, and never quit.

“(Later in the game) we got the momentum swung our way. They (Madison) never got it back. That’s the total opposite of what happened up there,” added McEntire, referring to Polk’s earlier loss at Madison.

Momentum is the key word for the Wolverines with six games in the next two weeks.