Polk women win second in row over Landrum

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, December 11, 2014

Landrum's Grace Allison (22) drives past Polk County's Sarah Phipps.

Landrum’s Grace Allison (22) drives past Polk County’s Sarah Phipps.

When Landrum’s women’s basketball team visited the Polk County gymnasium on Tuesday evening, the Cardinals were out to avenge last Friday’s 52-44 loss to the Wolverines.

Instead, they ran into an even better Wolverine effort, as Polk prevailed 56-35.

Polk is now 4-1, while Landrum fell to 1-3.

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Polk’s Hayley Kropp led all scorers with 20, while teammates Sarah Phipps (12) and Autumn Owen rounded out the home team’s top three.

The Wolverines scored first as Kropp hit two from the line.

Polk’s intense defense, good shooting, and the Wolverines’ ability to box out Landrum players on rebound opportunities, helped Polk lead, 24-10 after the first quarter.

Landrum closed the gap to 26-18, but Polk ran off seven unanswered points to go up, 33-18 at the half.

“So far, so good,” reported Polk head coach Brandy Alm after the half ended, noting that her players worked for good position on rebounds.

After the game, Alm noted, “We played hard when we came out, with defensive intensity. We were a lot more patient than we were on Friday. We played smart basketball. They (the Wolverines) played our game. They dictated the terms. They’re fun to watch.”

Through the game, especially in the second half, Polk’s intense defense upset the Cardinals’ ball-handling, which was less crisp than on Friday.

After three quarters, Polk held a commanding 45-25 lead. Landrum’s Allison Louan, did not exhibit the nearly flawless shooting that she displayed on Friday, but after narrowly missing two from the line, she hit another foul shot, and followed that with a long, two-point goal.

Last Friday, Kropp helped fuel a second-half comeback, as Polk roared back from a 31-24 half-time deficit, to defeat the Cardinals, 52-44, at Landrum.

Both factions of the large crowd had much to cheer through the game, with the Polk fans unaware of what would happen in the men’s game that followed.

Kropp’s 25 points led all players, while Jouan paced the Cardinals with 15, including two three-pointers. Kaylee Huntley added 14 for the Cardinals.

Kara Overholt (13) and Sarah Phipps (10 points, eight rebounds) also paced the Wolverines.

Using ball control and Jouan’s sharp shooting, Landrum built first-quarter and halftime leads of 13-9, and 31-24, respectively, but the Cardinals couldn’t keep the momentum.

Initially in the third quarter, the Cardinals matched most Wolverine field goals. Each time Polk cut the Cardinal lead to one, Landrum sank a basket.

That ended when Polk went ahead, 34-33, and only added to its lead. Phipps canned a basket to up Polk’s lead to 36-33. After three quarters, Polk led 39-35.

Kropp, playing in a near fury, seemed to be everywhere in the second half, especially driving to the hoop—actually, especially everywhere, as she also pulled down ten rebounds.

“We struggled in the first quarter,” admitted Alm, though she noted that her team played hard.

“We made some adjustments in the defensive end,” Alm said.

Of Kropp, Alm noted, “She’s quite the competitor.”

Alm noted the all-around team effort.

“With Sarah Phipps down low, we played a heck of a game,” Alm added. Regarding Phipps’s consistent rebounding, Alm observed, “She always has position.”

Boxing out opposing players in rebounding “is a lost art,” Alm noted, “but we’re trying to bring it back.” She noted that Owen has shown considerable skill in that facet of the game

Landrum coach Deon Brice observed, “They (Polk) came out in the second half aggressive, and went man, and rattled us a little bit.”

In the second half, the Cardinals, who had two players out with injuries, and who have a mostly young roster, couldn’t put fresh bodies on the floor as readily as could the Wolverines.

“It was hard for us to keep that momentum in the second half,” Brice noted. “We’re young,” he added, but noted that his team “played hard. It’s a rival game.”

Brice noted that the Cardinals early-season schedule features some tough competition that will help them in post-season play.

“We’re sophomore and junior heavy,” he continued. “They’re young, but they’re resilient. “We got better each game we played. In the long run, we’ll be all right.”

On Wednesday night, Polk was at North Henderson. Results were not available at press time.

Friday evening, the Wolverines will host Madison in conference action. Next Tuesday, they’re at Roberson in Asheville, and next Friday, host East Henderson.

Landrum is at Chesnee next Tuesday. Next Friday, the Cardinals host Pendleton.