Save for a slow start, Polk County more than held its own Friday night against a Madison team ranked ninth in the state this week.
The Wolverines trailed by 13 points early in the second quarter, but fought back to within six at halftime and kept the margin there in a 53-47 loss to the Patriots at Polk.
Madison (13-3, 2-2), which received its top-10 ranking in the first NCPreps/HS Media Basketball 2A Poll of the season earlier in the week, took advantage of early Wolverine shooting woes, building a 12-4 lead at the end of the first period.
The Patriots led 20-7 midway through the second when the Wolverines (6-8, 0-4) began to heat up. Olivia Overholt and Marissa Twitty teamed to score 12 points in the final 2:46 as Polk pulled within 25-19 at the half.
The Wolverines got the lead down to five late in the third period, but Madison prevented Polk from drawing any closer, hitting just enough free throws down the stretch in the fourth period to cling to the win.
But the result, especially Polk’s effort in the paint, brought a smile to head coach Brandy Alm’s face.
“We won the second quarter and we won the fourth quarter,” she said. “In the first quarter, we came out flat. We turned the ball over four consecutive times at one point.
“When we started executing and doing all the little things, boxing out and running the floor, things started falling into place for us.”
Sophomore Kristen Hall had perhaps the best effort of her young career, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Overholt also had 12 points, with Mariah Overholt adding 11 points.
Ansley Lynch had six points while Twitty had four points and six rebounds. Sara Muse added two points.
“I felt like we controlled the boards,” Alm said. “I think we’re going to build on this. We just had the bad first quarter and that was the difference in the game.”