Polk County’s young girls basketball squad got another lesson Friday in the art of dealing with adversity.
Give the Wolverines a passing grade on this one.
Foul trouble, injuries, a pesky Patton squad – the Wolverines overcame all to earn a 47-40 victory over the Panthers in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference opener for both teams.
The Wolverines (5-3) lost starter Mia Bradley late in the first quarter to what appeared to be a reoccurrence of her recent ankle injury. Starters Bailey Staton and Gavionna Carson each had four fouls by early in the fourth period, spending the first minutes of the quarter on the bench.
But Polk County kept the game close with both out and after the duo returned, the game entering its final minute with the teams tied at 40 after Patton scored with 1:07 to go.
Polk worked the ball around the Patton defense, looking for an open shot, and Staton took it with 46 seconds remaining, calmly drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The freshman guard then stripped a Patton defender of the ball after a missed shot, drew a foul and hit both free throws with 21 seconds left to put Polk up 45-40.
Gavionna Carson had two free throws in the final 11 seconds for the final margin.
“Everybody on the team stepped up,” said Polk County head coach Brandy Alm. “We had to move some girls around to different positions, but they made the adjustments they needed to make. Charley (Dusenbury) handled the ball well with Bailey in foul trouble.
“Bailey stepped up at the end and didn’t play like a freshman. She made the big three when we needed it.”
Staton finished with 18 points to pace Polk, with Kylie Lewis scoring 14. Carson had six points and Kayleigh Wilson added four.
Brianna Gray and Sarah Gray each had two points and Dusenbury finished with one.
Polk County wraps up its pre-Christmas schedule on Tuesday with a conference matchup at Hendersonville.