Bailey Staton races toward the basket during the second half of Monday’s game.

Canton Middle pulled away in the second half Monday to hand Polk County Middle a 31-14 defeat in Blue Ridge Conference girls basketball action at Polk.

The Bears led 15-7 at the half in the season opener for both teams, but scored five quick points to open the third period and steadily pulled away thereafter for the win.

Alyssa Smith had eight of her game-high 17 points in the third period for Canton.

A scrappy Polk County team kept the game close early. Bailey Staton’s 3-pointer with 1:42 left in the first period tied the game at 5-5, but Canton held Polk scoreless until 3:06 remained in the second period, when Caroline Taylor hit a layup to cut Canton’s lead to 13-7.

Taylor and Gavionna Carson each finished with four points, with Carson also effective on defense and on the boards. Staton added three points, with Sarah Gray scoring two points and Brianna Gray adding one.

Dot Dot Mills added 12 points for Canton.

Polk County Middle returns to the court on Thursday, traveling to Apple Valley.

Paige Griffin blocks a Canton Middle shot during the first half of Monday’s game.

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