Closing run pushes Polk girls into Knights tourney championship game

Published 11:20 am Friday, December 29, 2023

Polk County closed Thursday’s game with a 15-4 run in the final four minutes, rallying to upend High Point Academy 62-56 in the semifinals of the Knights 11th Annual Christmas Tournament in Hendersonville.

The Wolverines (6-4) move into Friday’s championship game, where they will face Mountain Heritage. The Cougars (8-2), currently the top-ranked team in 1A West, routed Owen 63-22 in the other semifinal.

Friday’s championship game is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. at North Henderson High School.

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In a tight contest throughout, High Point (9-3) inched ahead 54-47 with just under four minutes remaining. But the Wolverines rallied at the foul line, relying on their transition game and defensive rebounding to set up several fast-break chances that resulted in fouls.

Bailey Staton hit three-of-four free throws and Kylie Lewis scored on a nice pass from Mia Bradley to make it 54-52 with 2:33 remaining. Staton added two more free throws at the 2:08 mark to even the score.

Lewis hit twice from the foul line with 1:33 to go for a 56-54 Polk lead, and the Wolverines went 6-of-8 at the stripe in the final 90 seconds to secure the win.

Staton had 20 points to lead Polk County, with Lewis adding 16, Bradley scoring 14 and Littlejohn finishing with 12. Lewis also had 14 rebounds for her second straight double-double in the tourney, with Littlejohn adding eight rebounds and Bradley and Staton each recording five assists.

The Wolverines were 24-of-28 at the foul line to aid their cause.