While the Wildkittens (9-12) managed to find their lowest deficit of the season to the Lady Bears (16-4), and ended up with a 24-point, 44-20 loss, the Wildcats (4-17) were handed a 39-point, 76-37 loss by the sharpshooting Bears (9-10).
On Nov. 12 the two teams faced off in a Hall of Fame game in which Tellico came out ahead by 36 points, 73-37, over Polk. Then, on Dec. 10, the Wildkittens were able to hold the Lady Bears to a 30-point, 56-26 win at Tellico.
Despite a closer game on the scoreboard this time around, Wildkittens’ head coach Johnny Hayes felt that his team’s performance was marred by the same issues that have been haunting them all season.
“If you look at the scoreboard I guess you could say that the loss was a little less, but nonetheless we’re still performing the same. We’re turning the ball over and not making shots, which has been our story for a while now,” Hayes stated.
Tellico was able to get a quick lead over Polk, as they outscored them 14-0 in the first quarter.
“Not being able to produce on the offensive end is really hurting us,” Hayes said. You can’t expect to do well when you can’t score a point in the first quarter.”
The Wildkittens were almost evenly matched with the Lady Bears in the second, as they were only outscored 8-7.
Trailing 22-7 to start the second half, Polk was unable to muster up the offensive effort required to tame Tellico, which was able to score 11 points in each of the remaining quarters.
Polk, on the other hand was able to score eight points in the third quarter and five points in the fourth.
Makayla McClary led the Wildkittens with a total of five points in the game, with Heather McLain and Hannah Withrow each chipping in four points of their own.
Both McLain and Withrow had five rebounds each, with McClary getting four rebounds and four steals.
Bella Liner had two assists and two rebounds
The Wildkittens hit only eight of their 21 attempted buckets, went 4-for-10 from the charity stripe and were 0-for-7 from behind the arc.
“We’re getting shots, we’re just not putting them in. We’re trying to focus more in practice on shooting with pressure. You’ve got to be able to hit the shot whether or not there’s another girl in your face,” Hayes said.
BEARS 76, WILDCATS 37
While their female counterparts saw their lowest deficit against the Lady Bears Tuesday evening, the Wildcats were faced their largest deficit at the hands of the Bears this season.
At the Hall of Fame game Polk faced a 17-point, 63-46 loss to Tellico, but was able to cut the deficit to just 14 points in their Dec. 10, 51-37 loss.
Tuesday night’s lackluster performance resulted in a 39-point loss for the struggling Wildcats, much to the dismay of head coach Rusty Brewer.
“This was definitely not what I was looking for tonight. We obviously didn’t come ready to play,” Brewer said.
Unlike the Wildkittens, the Wildcats were at least able to put up five points on the board in the first quarter, but at the same time the Bears racked up 24 points in the first eight minutes.
“We had shots early but just didn’t knock them down and get in a rhythm in the game,” Brewer acknowledged.
Finishing the second quarter with only five more points, Polk trailed Tellico by a score of 46-10 at the half.
The Wildcats were able to jolt their offense to life in the second half, coming back in the third quarter with 16 points.
Unfortunately for Polk, Tellico continued to dominate with a 21 point quarter.
The Wildcats held up the Bears offensive charge in the fourth quarter, and outscored their opponents 11-9.
Will Richmond led Polk in scoring with a total of seven points, while Gage Locke, Devin Weber and Bryce Coffey notched six points apiece.
Polk County will host Tennessee Christian on Friday evening.
Tellico Plains 14 8 11 11 — 44
Polk County 0 7 8 5 — 20
LADY BEARS (44) — Valerie Cheek 20, McKinley Dalton 10, Harris 7, Garren 4, Shaw 3, Sutton, Kirkland, Phillip, Cain, Miller, Hunt, Boring.
WILDKITTENS (20) — McClary 5, McLain 4, Withrow 4, Johnson 2, Waldroup 2, Muller, Liner 1, Davis, Trew.
3-POINTERS: TP 4 (Cheek, Shaw, Harris, Dalton); PC 0.
FREE THROWS: TP 10-of-21; PC 4-of-10.
RECORDS: Polk County 9-12, 2-4 District 5-AA; Tellico Plains 16-4.
Tellico Plains 24 22 21 9 — 76
Polk County 5 5 16 11 — 37
BEARS (76) — Bryan Cook 16, Dakota Rinehart 16, Devin Collier 13, Carter 7, Hunt 6, Murphy 6, Balcom 5, Emerson 4, Choate 3, Orr, Freeman, Borkout.
WILDCATS (37) — Richmond 7, Weber 6, Coffey 6, Locke 6, Groomes 3, Ownbey 3, Sipe 2, Frerichs 2, Cross 2, Wimberley.
3-POINTERS: TP 4 (Rinehart 2, Carer, Balcom); PC 4 (Locke, Groomes, Richmond, Weber).
FREE THROWS: TP 8-of-15; PC 4-of-5.
RECORDS: Polk County 4-17, 0-6 District 5-AA; Tellico Plains 9-10.