The Wildkittens put together an impressive win, which consisted of three quarters with 10 or more points, topping the Lady Colts 55-38.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, got off to a slower start but still walked away with a 44-33 victory over the Colts.
According to Wildkittens head coach Johnny Hayes, Tuesday night’s game showed improvement from last week’s TSSAA Hall of Fame games.
“It’s getting better — but we’re still not putting them in as good as I thought we would, but it’s slowly improving,” Hayes commented. “We came out strong in the first quarter and had 19 points. Then we kind of went dry after that. We started settling for perimeter, outside shots when we were having success underneath. We need to be attacking the basket, so we’ll be working on that for sure.”
In the last two minutes of the first quarter Polk County went on an eight-point run to take a 19-9 lead over the Lady Colts.
Fifteen of those 19 points came from the combo of Shakori Pirkle and Heather McLain. Both Wildkittens ended the game with 14 points apiece.
Pirkle netted nine points in the first quarter, including a trey, while McLain had a trio of baskets.
In the second quarter the Wildkittens added 10 more points to the board which included a 3-pointer by Isabella Liner and Pirkle.
After the half, the Lady Colts were able to come back and score 11 points in the third, while Polk saw its offense stall a bit with only seven points.
The Wildkittens came back to finish the game out with 19 more points scored in the final quarter, 13 of which came from foul shots.
For the evening, Polk hit 16-of-25 free-throws attempted.
Liner, who had a total of 14 points in the game, was 5-for-7 at the free-throw line, while McLain went 4-for-6. Felecia Johnson, Whitney Hutcheson and Pirkle were all 2-for-2 in their foul shot opportunities.
One area that Hayes saw his team improve in was turnovers.
“Turnovers were a lot lower, and that helped us,” Hayes said. “We gave up several offensive rebounds which is discouraging, but we’re starting to come together.”
On Friday the Wildkittens will travel to North Murray (Ga.) to face a somewhat familiar foe.
“We played them over the summer, and I think it will be a pretty good matchup for us. If we come out and play like we should, I feel like we’ll be OK. If we don’t limit turnovers and don’t rebound the basketball, it will be a long night for us,” Hayes stated.
The Polk County boys didn’t see their offense come to life until the second quarter, but luckily their Coahulla Creek opponents found themselves struggling offensively even more.
“We had looks and opportunities, we just couldn’t knock it down early. Luckily we kind of came on late in the first quarter and had a good second quarter,” Wildcat head coach Rusty Brewer said.
After ending the first with a 7-4 lead, the Wildcats sprung to life in the second quarter and added 16 points to the scoreboard.
Polk had two of its three football players return to the basketball lineup Tuesday night, with Black Cross leading the charge in the second quarter with six points.
“We got two out of the three back from football and it helps. Blake did some good things tonight and Chris (Wimberley) had some quality minutes,” Brewer explained.
In the third quarter the combo of Gage Locke and Cody Groomes netted a total of three treys, with Locke hitting two and Groomes getting one.
“They (Locke and Groomes) play well together and we need to keep them on the floor,” Brewer commented. “Those two guys, along with Will Richmond playing guard, gives us a good opportunity to be successful.”
The Colts were able to add 18 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to stage an upset over the Wildcats.
“We’re still looking for consistency. I didn’t think we played bad in the second half, but we let them make a run toward the end. We’ve got to play with intensity and have consistency from start to finish,” Brewer declared. “There were still some unforced turnovers that we need to take care of, but I believe we only turned it over 10 times. If you can get through a ball game just turning it over 10 or 12 times then you’ll have some success throughout the year.”
Locke finished the evening with 14 points, while Bryce Coffey and Groomes had 10 points apiece.
Coahulla Creek 9 9 11 10 — 38
Polk County 19 10 7 19 — 55
LADY COLTS (38) — Fossett 9, Storey 9, Ross 7, Goodwin 6, Ogle 3, Patterson 2, King 2, Cherry, Reece.
WILDKITTENS (55) — Isabella Liner 14, Shakori Pirkle 14, Heather McLain 14, Felecia Johnson 4, Hannah Withrow 4, Whitney Hutcheson 2, Shelby Lillard 2, Angel Davis 1, Makayla McClary.
3-POINTERS: Coahulla 2 (Fossett, Storey); Polk County 3 (Pirkle 2, Liner).
FREE THROWS: Coahulla 9-of-17; Polk County 16-of-25.
RECORDS: Polk County 2-1
Coahulla Creek 4 7 4 18 — 33
Polk County 7 16 11 10 — 44
COLTS (33) — Taylor Poleet 14, Wilson 7, Williams 6, Johnson 4, Fisher 2, Hatfield, Miller, Foxx, McMillan, Ward, Laird.
WILDCATS (44) — Gage Locke 14, Bryce Coffey 10, Cody Groomes 10, Blake Cross 8, Colby Frerichs 2, Will Richmond, Chris Wimberley, Hunter Ownbey, Nathan Rogers, Nick Sipe.
3-POINTERS: Coahulla 3 (Poleet 2, Wilson); Polk County 3 (Locke 2, Groomes).
FREE THROWS: Coahulla 2-of-7; Polk County 3-of-6.
RECORDS: Polk County 2-1.