Monday night was a rough night for both of the Polk County High School basketball squads as they ventured down to Hamilton Heights and wound up dropping both games.
The odds were stacked against the Wildkittens (4-19) and the Wildcats (5-20) from the start, as they were playing last year’s NACA boys and girls National Division champions.
Polk County has two more games this week, including a final district game against Sweetwater on Friday.
The matchup between the Wildkittens and the Lady Hawks (20-4) was a tall order from the start, literally and figuratively speaking, as the Hamilton Heights roster includes two girls standing at 6-foot-3, a 6-foot-4 player, and one who is 6-6. The Lady Hawks have also been the NACA National Division champions every year since 2008.
The Wildkittens, despite having dropped their last six games, entered into Monday night’s game and attempted to keep stride with the powerhouse Lady Hawks. Emily Wilson and Hannah Withrow were responsible for Polk’s nine points in the first period.
Coming into the second period trailing 17-9, the Wildkittens struggled to get the ball in the hole until Rosa Haynes netted a 3-pointer. Hamilton Heights struggled with its shooting as well, but was still able to add seven more points to the lead over Polk.
By the end of the third, the Lady Hawks had a 21-point lead over the Wildkittens. The deficit didn’t destroy the Polk County spirit though, as the team scored 14 points in the fourth period. The game ended 57-34 in favor of Hamilton Heights.
Wilson led the Wildkittens in points with a total of 16. The Lady Hawks were led by Teodora Zagorac with 18 points and Ima Akpan with 11 points.
With their last win coming a month ago, the slumping Wildcats came into Monday night’s game as the underdogs, much like their female counterparts. The Hawks (13-10) had the advantage all around, including the height advantage, with a 6-5 and a 6-7 player on their roster.
Due to a Hamilton Heights player dunking the ball during warmups, the game started with a technical foul in favor of the Wildcats, who were only able to gain one point from it. Cody Grooms added a quick 3-pointer, giving the visitors a brief 4-0 lead.
The Hawks made short work of taking the lead, and ended the first period ahead of the Wildcats 20-8.
Despite their best attempts, Polk County would never see another lead in Monday’s game.
Going into the second half, the Wildcats were trailing the Hawks by 28 points. This deficit would only increase as Polk County could only add 13 points to the scoreboard in the second half.
The Hawks were victorious, defeating the Wildcats 69-32.
Derrick Weber led Polk County with 12 points. Carson Reno led the Hawks with 15 points, followed by Jhony Monterio and Rokas Paulaukas with 14 points a piece.
Hamilton Heights 17 7 17 16 — 57
Polk County 9 4 7 14 — 34
LADY HAWKS (61) — Teodora Zagorac 18, Ima Akpan 11, Paulauskaite 9, Savickaite 9, Savic 6, Kievisaite 2, Madzarevic 2, Nwosu, Nichols.
WILDKITTENS (55) — Emily Wilson 16, Haynes 7, Withrow 4, Liner 2, Johnson 2, Epperson 2, Hatcher 1, McLain, McClary, Stewart, Lillard, Hutcheson.
3-point goals: Hamilton Heights 4 (Adpan 2, Zagorac, Savickaite ); Polk County 2 (Wilson, Haynes).
Free throws: Hamilton Heights 5-of-9; Polk County 8-of-15.
Records: Hamilton Heights 20-4; Polk County 4-19.
Hamilton Heights 20 27 16 6 — 69
Polk County 8 11 6 7 — 32
HAWKS (61)— Carson Reno 15, Jhony Monterio 14, Rokas Paulaukas 14, Ezekiel Balogun 10, Huyler 8, Haji 5, Vaitkas 3, Osemwegie, Dygris, Janjetovic, Jonanovic, Milikovic.
WILDCATS (21) — Ball 5, Coffey 4, Groomes 4, Locke 3, Richmond 3, Hutcheson 2, Der. Weber 2, Dev. Weber 2, Keith, Cross.
3-point goals: Hamilton Heights 8 (Monterio 4, Reno 3, Vaitkas); Polk County 2 (Groomes).
Free throws: Hamilton Heights 1-of-5; Polk County 6-of-9.
Records: Hamilton Heights 13-10; Polk County 5-20.