The outcome Friday night didn’t satisfy Polk County girls basketball coach Brandy Alm. The four-quarter journey to get there, though, produced a lot to like.
Polk County held its own with an undefeated Landrum squad, leading much of the first half and rallying late before dropping a 59-52 non-conference decision at Polk.
Facing a Cardinals squad (4-0) ranked 10th in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association 2A state preseason poll, Polk County (3-0) controlled play much of the opening two quarters, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half before Landrum rallied to slice the margin to one at the break.
The Cardinals then began to pull away in the third period, converting a number of second-chance opportunities as Polk County struggled to score on its end. Three-pointers by Lindsey Hardin and Sarah Price pushed Landrum to a 39-34 lead early in the quarter, and with Polk County’s leading scorer Autumn Owen in foul trouble, the Cardinals extended the margin to 44-36 by the end of the period.
Landrum then opened the final quarter with a 7-2 run, building a 51-38 advantage with 5:12 remaining. But Polk County began to fight back and answered with its own streak, eight straight points capped by Mariah Overholt’s 3-pointer to slice Landrum’s lead to 51-46 with 2:32 left in the game.
Polk County could get no closer than five points, though, in part hampered by 4-of-10 shooting at the foul line in the final two minutes.
“I’m very pleased with our performance,” said Polk County head coach Brandy Alm. “I’m not happy with the score, but pleased with our performance.
“There were a lot of positive things. We are reading the court better and reading the defense better. We were patient when we needed to be so. We have to eliminate the second-chance opportunities. They killed us on the offensive boads. But we’ve learned so much and grown so much in the last three games.”
Owen finished with 17 points and five rebounds while Ansley Lynch had a team-high 21 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Lynch had six points in Polk County’s second-quarter spurt that saw the Wolverines build a 21-8 lead midway through the quarter.
Kristen Hall finished with five points, six rebounds and four steals while Overholt added five points and three steals. Bella Marino had three steals and a point, with Sara Muse, Julia Griffin and Rachael Davis each scoring one.
Hardin, Bailey Butler and Ellen Boatwright each scored 12 points to pace Landrum, with Price adding 11.
Polk County hosts Highland Tech (4-1) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.