Unbeaten Mountaineers frustrate Wolverines in 57-34 victory

At times Tuesday, Hayley Kropp saw exactly what she’d hoped to see from Polk County’s girls basketball team.

For far too many other times, though, Kropp didn’t enjoy what she saw in her stint filling in as the Wolverines’ head coach.

Mitchell had much to do with the latter.

The undefeated Mountaineers fashioned a run of 23 unmatched points over the equivalent of a quarter, that stretch propelling Mitchell to a 57-34 Western Highlands Conference win at Polk.

With both head coach Brandy Alm and assistant Billy Alm missing the game, Kropp and Polk County Middle boys coach Josh Money led the Wolverines. The change didn’t seem to faze Polk (1-3, 1-3), which battled Mitchell (7-0, 4-0) evenly throughout the first quarter and a half.

Marissa Twitty’s three-point play just before the end of the first gave Polk a 12-10 lead, and the Wolverines still led 17-15 midway through the second period after Emmie McDowell canned a 3-pointer.

Polk County’s Rachael Davis battles for position during second-half action

Mitchell’s relentless defensive pressure, though, finally began to disrupt Polk. The Mountaineers followed McDowell’s three with a 17-0 run to close the half, Marley Cloer scoring 11 of those points, and opened the third period with the first six points before Twitty scored on a fast break with 4:31 left in the third. By that point, Polk trailed 38-19, and the Mountaineers kept the margin at 20 or more the rest of the evening.

“We were doing well in the first quarter,” Kropp said. “Then it was like Polk County went somewhere else. They have a good team and we got frustrated.

“It was a good experience coaching. I wish we had come out with a win.”

Twitty finished with 15 points for the Wolverines, nine of those in the first quarter, with Tori Thompson, Emmie McDowell and Sara Muse each scoring five points. Rachael Davis and Kaylin Jenkins each finished with two points.

Polk County is scheduled to travel Thursday to Avery for a game rescheduled from last week due to the Vikings being in quarantine, then visit Mountain Heritage on Friday.