Seniors help steady Wolverines late as Polk wins home opener

With a squad full of freshmen seeing significant playing time, Polk County girls basketball coach Brandy Alm welcomes the leadership her three seniors provide.

That experience proved especially handy Thursday evening. With shots refusing to fall and Blue Ridge Early College fashioning a late rally, the Wolverines’ senior trio offered some valuable guidance down the stretch, enabling Polk to take a 42-31 victory in a non-conference clash.

Olivia Overholt provided the scoring punch with a career-high 29 points, Tori Thompson handled Blue Ridge’s halfcourt pressure and Kinsley Huskey offered key defense and rebounding as Polk (4-0) remained undefeated.

“The seniors did a great job tonight, especially at the end,” Alm said. “We have a few things to work on, but we’ve improved immensely since the first game.

“We keep getting better every day, and that’s all you can ask for from such a young team.”

Due to COVID-19 protocols within the program, Polk hadn’t played a game in nine days, and the Wolverines struggled at times offensively. Overholt, though, raced to a quick start, scoring Polk’s first 17 points and hitting three straight 3-pointers in a run that gave the Wolverines a 17-9 lead.

Mia Bradley’s jumper from the wing in the final seconds helped Polk take a 22-10 lead at the half, and Thompson had a pair of 3-pointers early in the third period as Polk led by 15 points entering the final quarter.

Blue Ridge (3-2) began to tighten its defensive efforts, though, and also started finding some rhythm offensively. Blue Ridge’s Mahalah Stewart, who finished with 16 points, led a surge that cut the margin to single digits, 39-30, with 4:40 left in the game.

But that’s when the Wolverine seniors took charge. Overholt’s traditional three-point play – a driving layup and foul shot – stopped the Bobcat run, and Polk allowed just a lone free throw to the Bobcats in the final minutes to secure the win.

Thompson finished with seven points, with Bradley adding four.

Polk County returns to action Friday, hosting Rosman in a non-conference matchup tipping off at 6 p.m. that will be shown live on NFHS Network.

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