Brandy Alm had a smile on her face Friday night in the wake of Polk County’s 52-41 loss to Avery – until she looked at one section of the postgame stat sheet.
“If we hit our free throws. . . ,” Alm said. “We missed 14 free throws and we lost by 11 points.”
Polk County otherwise held its own against a veteran Avery team that reached the state 1A semifinals last season, two small scoreless runs also proving key in the final outcome.
The Vikings (12-7, 2-4) took advantage of the first drought, pounding the offensive boards early in building a 13-point lead in the first quarter. Polk County (1-16, 0-6), though, fought back, trimming the deficit to six late in the second period before trailing 33-26 at the half.
The Wolverines got within five early in the third period and had several chances to get closer, but couldn’t get anything to drop during a crucial four-minute span in the third.
Polk’s Ansley Lynch finally broke through with a layup at the 2:10 mark, but the Wolverines trailed by double digits at that point, and Avery kept Polk at bay throughout the final period.
“I thought we played well,” Alm said. “We missed a lot of boxouts in the first half that led to a lot of second chance opportunities for them (Avery had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half).
“Those two things alone (rebounds and free throws) were the difference in the game.”
Autumn Owen led Polk County with 16 points, with Lynch scoring eight. Mariah Overholt finished with six points, with Sara Muse scoring five and Kristen Hall adding four.
Polk County continues Western Highlands Conference play on Monday, traveling to Mitchell.