Defense helps Wolverines overcome foul woes, Owen

Polk County girls basketball coach Brandy Alm couldn’t find her office keys moments before Friday’s matchup with Owen and worried that might a bad omen.

Those concerns seemed merited, too, when leading scorer Olivia Overholt picked up two fouls in the first 78 seconds after tipoff.

But the Wolverine defense and a balanced scoring effort helped allay Alm’s concerns as Polk County earned a 55-37 victory in the Western Highlands Conference home matchup.

The Wolverines (12-1, 3-0) turned a six-point halftime lead into a 17-point bulge at one mark late in the third, clamping down on Owen’s offense. The Warhorses (4-9, 0-2) had their own foul problems to contend with as freshman standout Emma Larios picked up her third and fourth fouls in a matter of seconds just before halftime.

Larios’ foul problems put a damper on the defensive pressure that rattled Polk a bit in the first half, and the Wolverines took advantage to open the third period. Marissa Twitty hit a pair of free throws, Overholt had a steal and short jumper and then hit two free throws as Polk surged to a 31-19 lead.

Emmie McDowell’s 3-pointer at the 2:07 mark increased the lead to 16, and Tori Thompson’s basket with 1:26 remaining upped the advantage to 40-23.

Polk then made certain there would be no comeback at the start of the fourth period as Overholt, Rachael Davis and Sara Muse scored on consective possessions to give the Wolverines a 46-25 gap.

Overholt finished with three fouls, while McDowell fouled out and three other Polk players finished with four fouls.

“Those two fouls on Olivia hurt us,” Alm said. “Defensively, we were consistent. Controlling the boards and controlling the tempo of the game were two things were two things we really intended to focus on, and we did a good job with both.

“Everybody contributed offensively and defensively.”

Seven different Wolverines scored in the first half and eight scored in the game, led by Overholt with 14 points. She also had five rebounds and four assists.

Twitty finished with 12 points and six rebounds, with McDowell scoring eight points. Alana Jergenson had six points, with Muse and Davis each scoring four. Davis also had six rebounds.

Thompson had five points and Kristen Hall had two points, five rebounds and five steals.

Polk County will next be in action on Friday, traveling to Mitchell for a key WHC showdown.

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