Polk Middle girls fall to Rugby, but still tourney-bound

Polk County Middle’s final regular-season game didn’t go end as the Wolverines would have liked Thursday.

But another game awaits.

A day after qualifying for the Blue Ridge Conference postseason tournament, Polk Middle dropped a 43-27 decision to Rugby in a girls basketball battle at Polk.

The Raiders concluded their season at 11-1, including a perfect record in the BRC’s East Division, and will go into next week’s tourney with a good shot to win it.

Yet Polk Middle (4-8) never gave up despite a first quarter in which Rugby seemingly couldn’t miss and built a 22-7 lead. The Wolverines largely battled the Raiders on even terms the rest of the way.

“I hate to say we were outmatched, but that team is so talented. They’re 10-0 in the division for a reason,” said Polk Middle head coach Brian Taylor.

“We fought hard and we played pretty well in the second half. The girls didn’t give up.”

The loss came a day after Polk Middle earned a 37-27 victory at Brevard Middle that clinched a tournament berth for the Wolverines.

Bailey Staton and Brianna Gray each had 10 points to lead Polk Middle as the Wolverines turned a 22-19 lead entering the fourth period into the final margin.

“Brianna and Bailey hit some big shots in the second half,” Taylor said. “We really showed toughness and teamwork, especially our defense, and we started knocking down some shots in the second half.

“It was a great win on the road to put us in fourth place (in the division) and in the tournament. We are certainly excited about getting to play at least one more game.”

Polk Middle will travel to Bethel on Monday to face the West Division champion Blue Demons in the opening round of the BRC tourney.

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