Its trademark aggressive defense helped Polk County Middle build a huge early lead Thursday. An improving offense made certain the Wolverines maintained that edge.
Polk Middle scored 13 straight points in the second quarter, then survived a Hendersonville Middle rally to hand the Bearcats a 27-20 setback in a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference matchup.
On the strength of that 13-0 run, Polk Middle (5-5) surged to a 15-2 lead in the second quarter, only to see the Bearcats scored seven points in the final 2:20 to make it 15-9 at the half. Hendersonville Middle continued its run in the third quarter, pulling within 17-15 with 1:35 left.
But the Wolverines offense responded. Kaylin Jenkins grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, Ava Marino hit a pair of free throws and Sara Muse banked in a short jumper to lift Polk to a 23-15 lead at quarter’s end.
Julia Griffin then scored from the lane early in the fourth period to push the lead to 25-15 and effectively seal Hendersonville’s fate.
“We had a defensive game plan and we stuck with it,” said Polk Middle head coach Michelle Fagan. “We executed our offense well and worked together. I felt like we jelled tonight.
“Our intensity level was pretty consistent. We made some substitutions and the intensity level stayed high. Everybody contributed to that intensity level. And our defense led to offensive opportunities again.”
Griffin and Marino each had six points to lead a balanced Polk Middle offemse, with Muse scoring five, Bre Kenan scoring four and Kristen Hall, Jenkins and Belen Akers each scoring two.