CHATTANOOGA — A pair of exciting endings gave both Polk County basketball squads something they desperately needed Thursday evening — victory.
After charging out to a strong early lead, the Wildkittens had to hold off a late charge by Silverdale Baptist Academy to earn their first victory of the season by a 67-64 tally.
Polk County senior Emily Wilson and Lady Seahawk sharpshooter Mariah Massengill combined to score 70 of the game’s 131 points.
Wilson drilled four 3-pointers on her way to 32 points, while Massengill ripped the cords for 38 points, including five treys.
Meanwhile, it took a last-second putback of an offensive rebound by Chandler Hutcheson for the Wildcats to taste victory for just the second time this season with a 53-52 decision.
Both Polk County squads will be back in action Saturday evening in a special “homecoming night” as East Hamilton comes to Benton for a 6 p.m. tip-off.
Despite facing a Lady Seahawk team that started the season with six wins in their first eight outings, the Polk County girls, who were yet to claim a win in the same amount of games, came out on fire last night in Chattanooga.
Leading for all but a minute of the game, the Wildkittens went up 18-7 at the first break and stretched their lead to as much as 15 points before settling for a nine-point edge at the intermission.
After the hosts pulled within five points at the end of the third quarter, the Polk girls were able to push their advantage back to double digits with just under four minutes remaining.
However, Silverdale (6-3) was not willing to go so easily, going on a 10-2 streak to pull within a basket in the final minute, but that was as close as they would get.
Wilson added eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a pair of blocks to go with her season-high 32 points.
Rosa Haynes helped out with a dozen points, eight caroms, three helps and a pair of thefts.
Rachel Epperson drained a trio of treys for nine points and pulled down seven boards in the victory.
Massengill added three steals and three assists to her 38-point output for Silverdale, while Megan Lewis netted three long-range bombs on her way to 13 points, but missed a fourth at the buzzer that would have given the hosts the victory.
Wildcats 54, Seahawks 52
A seesaw battle that had Silverdale (3-6) up by three points at then end of the opening period, the game tied at the half and Polk (2-6) down by a pair heading into the final quarter, came down to the wire with a missed shot being put back in by Hutcheson as the buzzer sounded for the Wildcat victory.
Polk senior Evan Ball drilled four 3-pointers, plus went 5-for-6 at the free throw line for a team-high 17 points, plus he dished off a half dozen assists.
Cody Groomes helped out with a dozen points for the victors, while Devin Weber netted six points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Hutcheson’s game-winner was his sixth rebound of the night and as well as his sixth point. He also dealt five “dimes.”
Derrick Weber finished with eight points, while Gage Locke netted five for the Wildcats.
Brett Barton and Spencer Mossburg led Silverdale with 19 and 18 points respectively.
Polk County 18 16 14 19 — 67
Silverdale 7 18 19 20 — 64
WILDKITTENS (67) — Emily Wilson 32, Rosa Haynes 12, Epperson 9, Hatcher 8, McClary 6, Johnson, Withrow.
LADY SEAHAWKS (64) — Mariah Massengill 38, Megan Lewis 13, Redmond 6, Woodward 4, Sims 2, Alosi 1, Smith, Pike, Skelton.
3-POINTERS: Polk County 8 (Wilson 4, Epperson 3, Hatcher); Silverdale 8 (Massengill 5, Lewis 3).
RECORDS: Polk County 1-8; Silverdale 6-3. District 5-AAA.
Polk County 14 10 9 20 — 53
Silverdale 17 7 11 17 — 52
WILDCATS (53) — Evan Ball 17, Cody Groomes 12, Derrick Weber 8, Hutcheson 6, Devin Weber 6, Locke 5, Richmond, Coffey.
SEAHAWKS (52) — Brett Barton 19, Spencer Mossburg 18, Strawn 8, Hall 5, Clements 2, Keylon.
3-point goals: Polk County 6 (Ball 4, Locke, Groomes); Silverdale 4 (Strawn 2, Barton 2).
Free throws: Polk County 10-of-19; Silverdale 7-of-11.
Records: Polk County 2-6; Silverdale 3-6.