Basketball coaches around the Western Highlands Conference are without doubt looking forward to watching Owen senior Chesney Gardner graduate at the end of this school year.
Count Polk County’s Brandy Alm among those.
Gardner poured in 32 points Tuesday night to lead Owen to a 47-34 win over Polk County in a Western Highlands Conference girls basketball clash at Polk.
Averaging 28.3 points per game this season, Gardner, a USC Aiken signee, came out sizzling Tuesday, scoring 17 points in the first quarter as Owen (3-14, 2-3) took advantage of Polk County’s first-half shooting woes.
The Wolverines (6-9, 0-5) hit just two field goals in the first half, falling behind 29-8 at the half. Gardner had four first-half 3-pointers and finished with 20 points in the half.
But Polk County roared out of the dressing room, opening the third period with a 13-3 run to cut Owen’s lead to 31-21. Sara Muse, Olivia Overholt, Marissa Twitty and Ansley Lynch all hit baskets during that run that drew Polk within 10 with 3:22 left in the third period.
Gardner began looking to drive and draw fouls at that point, and she hit 4-of-6 free throws in the final three minutes as Owen pushed the lead to 37-23 at quarter’s end.
Polk again pulled within 10 with 2:51 in the final period on an Overholt 3-pointer. Overholt hit two free throws with 2:26 left to get the deficit to single digits at 43-34. But that would be as close as Polk would get, and Gardner would hit four free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Overholt finished with 14 points and six rebounds for Polk, with Twitty scoring eight points. Muse and Lynch each had four points, with Kristen Hall scoring two and Mariah Overholt scoring two with five rebounds.
The Wolverines travel Friday to Avery for another WHC matchup.