Reeve Carroll led Polk Middle with 16 points in Thursday's win

Defense is always a prioity for Polk County Middle’s girls basketball team.

It’s something head coach Michelle Fagan talks about following every game. The Wolverines work hard on defense at every practice. It’s a focal point, to say the least.

Even by the Wolverines’ standards, though, Thursday’s early performance against Rugby Middle more than stood out.

The Raiders didn’t score until the midway point of the second quarter, falling behind 20-0 in a Blue Ridge Conference East Division meeting eventually won 44-25 by the Wolverines.

Polk Middle (5-2) especially troubled Rugby early with its full-court press, forcing a handful of turnovers that led to baskets. The Wolverines scored their first 12 points on layups, with Kenzie Alm then hitting a 3-pointer for a 15-0 advantage with 2:29 still left in the first quarter.

Polk ended the period with a 16-0 lead, a margin that could have been larger had the Wolverines not gone 1-for-6 at the foul line. Sofie Abrahamsen hit two free throws early in the second quarter and Alm canned a short jumper for the 20-0 margin with 3:53 left in the half.

“I feel like we’re getting better each and every game,” Fagan said. “We’re seeing the court better and working the ball down the court and getting some good looks at the basket.

“I’m just pleased with how we’re coming along as a team. It’s not just one person, but a number of players who are getting better.”

Reeve Carroll had 16 points to lead Polk Middle, with Abrahamsen scoring 13. Alm finished with seven points, with Amiyah Waters adding five and Honesty Jackson scoring three.

A big test awaits Polk Middle after the holiday break as East Division leader Hendersonville Middle visits on Jan. 4.