Slow and low helped Polk County go Wednesday.
Turnovers plagued the Wolverines in Monday’s season-opening loss at Owen. So Polk County eschwed its usual push-the-pace approach in favor of a deliberate half-court attack. The Wolverines struggled to score at Owen, so Polk looked to pound the ball down into the low blocks to set up short jumpers and layups.
Both tactics worked as the Wolverines notched a 47-36 victory over Madison in a Western Highlands Conference matchup that also served as their home debut and Senior Night.
Sara Muse and Kristen Hall each scored 16 points to lead a Polk County (1-1, 1-1) effort that began to pay off in the second half as shots finally began to fall. Hall had 11 of her points in the final two quarters and Muse had eight.
“Thd difference in Monday and tonight was that we controlled the game and controlled the tempo of the game,” said Polk County head coach Brandy Alm. “We slowed down the turnovers and played smart. We played smart basketball tonight.”
Madison (0-3, 0-1) kept the game close throughout the opening two quarters, with 6-0 sophomore center Ella Capps causing issues for the Wolverines in the lane. Capps often disrupted Polk shooters inside and helped the Patriots limit the Wolverines’ offensive rebound chances, allowing Madison to take a 19-17 halftime lead.
The Patriots still led 23-19 midway through the third period before Polk began to find the mark offensively. Hall had four points and Marissa Twitty, Emmie McDowell and Muse each had two in a 10-0 run that gave the Wolverines a 29-23 edge entering the final quarter.
Polk extended that margin to eight points with 4:37 remaining, but Madison responded with a flurry that made it 35-33 with 2:53 to play. Tori Thompson stopped that run with a pair of free throws, then hit another with 1:54 remaining before Hall scored five points in the final 1:40 to wrap up the win.
“We took better control of the basketball, controlled the boards and controlled the tempo,” Alm said. “Defensively, we got in a little bit of foul trouble, but we played hard.”
Thompson finished with seven points and six assists, with Twitty scoring six and McDowell adding two for the Wolverines. Hall also had eight rebounds and Muse had six rebounds and four assists for Polk.
With Avery’s girls basketball team in quarantine, Polk County’s next outing will be at home on Tuesday against Mitchell.