North Henderson outlasts tough, young Polk squad

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, January 15, 2015

By Mark Schmerling
Allowing North Henderson just three points (on just one basket) in the second quarter,
Polk County’s men’s varsity basketball team outscored the Knights, 12-3, in that period,
to nearly wipe out a ten-point first-quarter deficit.

Unrelenting defense and hot three-point shooting by both teams kept the score tight
through three quarters, when the Knights led by just two, but the Wolverines’ offense
cooled, and the defense stuttered as well, with North Henderson taking the game, 65-51,
at Columbus on Jan. 12.

Polk, now 1-12 overall, is set turn it around, when the mostly young team can keep it
together for 32 minutes.

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“We had a drought in the fourth quarter,” Polk head coach Josh McEntire admitted. “We
quit playing defense at the same time.” About then, noted McEntire, Polk began taking
bad shots.

Missing but two foul shots all evening, and making all of their many free throws in the
last quarter, also benefitted North, now 10-4.

“They executed late, and we didn’t,” McEntire summarized about North’s efforts. “That
was the story of the ball game. We’re doing some really good things. We need to be more
consistent on offense. We just have to learn to play a complete ball game.”

Jamal Wheeler’s 16 points led the Wolverines, with freshman Arnie Twitty adding 11.
The Knights’ Drew Williams hit four three-pointers on his way to a game-high 28. Polk
held everyone else to well under double figures.

Hitting three-pointers helped the Knights lead, 20-10, after one period. Then, Polk’s
offense and defense worked together, as the Wolverines trailed by just 23-22 at the
half. Polk played the Knights hard in the third quarter as well, trailing only 42-40 with
eight minutes left in the game. In that third quarter, both teams exchanged deadly fire
from three-point range, with occasional successful trips to the hoop. At one point,
Wheeler stole the ball and raced to the Polk hoop for two.

For a time, Polk’s defense blocked and tipped the Knights’ passes and shots with nearly
rhythmical effect.

A Wheeler layup tied the score at 42, early in the fourth quarter, but North pulled away,
hitting three’s from the floor, and sinking free throws with deadly efficiency.

This Friday, Jan. 16, the Wolverines will visit Hendersonville. Next Tuesday (Jan. 20),
they visit Madison, returning home to host West Henderson on Jan. 21.
Results from Wednesday’s (Jan. 14) game against Owen were not available at press time.
7919: Polk County’s men’s basketball team features several young talented players,
including junior Jaylan Wilkins, who is pulling down a defensive rebound against North
Henderson on Jan. 12. The Wolverines kept up with the Knights for three quarters, but
fell, 65-51, in non-conference play. (Photo by Mark Schmerling)
8024: Polk County’s Jason Chupp (#1) charges past North Henderson’s Ivan Ranke (41)
late in Monday evening’s game at Polk. (Photo by Mark Schmerling)