Wolverine women fall to Madison in defensive battle

Published 12:32 pm Monday, December 15, 2014

Polk freshman Autumn Owen (11) shows her grit in guarding Madison's Baylea Loven  (22). (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

Polk freshman Autumn Owen (11) shows her grit in guarding Madison’s Baylea Loven
(22). (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

By Mark Schmerling

Unrelenting defensive pressure by Madison held Polk County to just nine points in the second and third quarters combined, as the Patriots held off the Wolverines, 47-35.

“Their post players shut down our inside game,” observed Polk coach Brandy Alm.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That was all too true, as only on limited occasions did a Polk player penetrate. Conversely, Polk’s defense turned back much of Madison’s inside game as well.

Continuous intense pressure by Wolverine defenders “kept us in the game,” Alm noted.

Polk is now 4-2, the Madison game being the season’s first conference game. On Wednesday, North Henderson tripped the Wolverines 47-39, at North Henderson.

The Madison contest, held in the Polk gym, began on a high note, when Sarah Phipps tipped the opening jump ball to Hayley Kropp, who laid it up and in for two.

However, the Patriots sank eight unanswered points before Kara Overholt made it 8-4. One Polk goal later, Savannah Ross hit a foul shot to cut Madison’s lead to 8-7. Shortly after that, Ross hit a goal at the buzzer to put the Wolverines up, 9-8, after eight minutes. That was about as good as it got for Polk, as the Patriots outscored their hosts, 11-4, and 12-5, in the second and third quarters, respectively.

Polk players weren’t making the shots, but rather than cold shooting, the culprit was all that Madison pressure, and a lack of real opportunity.

That both teams played intense defense can be noted by nearly four minutes of the second quarter passing with no one recording a point. Then it was a Madison basket, as the Patriots took a 19-13 halftime lead.

A two-for-two visit to the line by Phipps, and Hayley Kropp’s driving layup were all the Wolverines could post in the third quarter, though their intensity and focus never faltered.

By then, Madison owned a 31-18 lead. In the final quarter, Polk outscored the Patriots, 17-16, but were unable to get close. In that quarter, Overhold made both ends of a one-and-one at the line, and added a three-pointer later, but with just under a minute remaining, Madison led, 43-32. The Patriots’ Lexi Ammons scored 20 to lead all players.

Alm cited “the heart that our team displayed tonight. That’s how we’re going to win games– defense.”

“Intense” would describe the Wolverines’ schedule this week, with games this Tuesday evening at Roberson, at home tomorrow against East Henderson, and at Mountain Heritage on Thursday.