Defense never rests for Polk Middle in tourney-opening rout

Polk County Middle's Kristen Hall races ahead of the Madison defense for a layup during first-half action in Monday's win.

Madison Middle School had two baskets – just two – in the second half of Monday’s visit to Polk County Middle.

The Patriots didn’t have many more in the first half, either, as Polk Middle’s smothering defense sparked the Wolverines to a 42-19 win in the opening round of the Blue Ridge Middle School Conference Basketball Tournament.

The Wolverines (11-2) move on to Wednesday’s semifinals, where they’ll make the long trip to Franklin to face Macon Middle (12-1), which eliminated Rugby on Monday.

Photos: Polk Middle wins tournament opener

Madison (5-7) never led Monday and trailed by double digits for almost three quarters of the game as Polk Middle more than held its own in a rough affair that saw numerous players left sprawled across the court on occasion.

“Our full-court pressure and our ability to apply pressure presented a lot of offensive opportunities,” said Polk County Middle head coach Michelle Fagan. “Again, we had unselfish play as a team. We spread the scoring around to eight people. That’s key.”

Polk Middle also proved adept at finding open players inside with its perimeter passing, both following turnovers and in its halfcourt game. Already up 16-6 in the second period, the Wolverines found Rachael Davis open on back-to-back possessions for easy layups, then hit Davis again moments later for a 24-9 bulge with 2:03 left in the first half. Polk led 26-12 at the break.

The Wolverines turn ratched up the pressure in the third period, holding Madison to just three points while building a 36-15 bulge entering the final quarter.

Sara Muse and Olivia Overholt each scored nine points to lead Polk Middle, which also got six points from Davis, five points from Kristen Hall, four points from Julia Griffin and Kaylin Jenkins, three from Tori Thompson and two points from Emmie McDowell. Marissa Twitty had seven rebounds for Polk.