Third-quarter Bearcat spurt dooms Wolverines in conference setback

Published 10:48 am Monday, January 8, 2024

Still recovering from illnesses and still getting back into routines following the holidays, Polk County’s girls basketball team was not at its best Friday.

Shots weren’t falling. There were turnovers. The team, at times, seemed “flat” to head coach Brandy Alm.

Yet despite those struggles, the Wolverines still held a 30-29 edge over Hendersonville late in the third quarter of Friday’s Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matchup.

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The Bearcats, though, quickly changed that, reeling off 11 straight points in the final 90 seconds of the third period and early fourth, that run ultimately proving the deciding factor in Hendersonville’s 49-39 victory.

Polk County (6-6, 1-1) trailed 40-30 after that Bearcat rally, and though getting the margin into single digits down the stretch, could never get back within striking distance.

Hendersonville (7-5, 2-0) scored the game’s first six points and led all of the first half. A long Bailey Staton 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer made it 23-21 at the break, and Mia Bradley opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer that gave the Wolverines their first lead of the night.

Polk pushed the lead to 28-24 later on a Kiera Littlejohn basket. But A.J. Jackson scored on a layup and hit a 3-pointer to return the advantage to Hendersonville, and following two Staton free throws, the Bearcats embarked on that run that would seal their win.

Staton finished with 17 points to lead Polk County, with Kylie Lewis adding eight. Littlejohn had six points and 11 rebounds, with Bradley and Charley Dusenbury each scoring three.

Jayden Duncan added two points for the Wolverines, who host R-S Central on Tuesday in another league matchup.