SWEETWATER — Polk County traveled north for a pair of key District 5-AA battles Tuesday evening and came back home with a win and a loss.
The Wildkittens broke open a close game early for a 56-24 blowout of the Sweetwater girls, while the hosts used a strong second quarter to hand the boys from Benton a tough 68-61 defeat.
Both Polk County squads will return to their home court Thursday evening as former 5-AA member Meigs County comes calling.
Coach Johnny Hayes’ Wildkittens (7-3, 2-1 District 5-AA) held a slim 5-4 edge at the first buzzer, but then more than doubled up the Sweetwater (1-12, 0-2) effort in the second eight-minute span for a 20-11 halftime advantage.
After the intermission the Benton felines continued their assault with a 21-6 run, before capping the runaway by outscoring the hosts 15-7 in the final frame.
A trio of Wildkittens netted double figuress in scoring with Mikayla McClary leading the way with a double-double with 17 points, including hitting 11-of-12 free throws, and 10 rebounds.
Heather McLain went 6-for-11 from the field and 4-of-5 at the stripe for 16 points, plus she pulled down nine boards. Bella Liner hit a pair of 3-pointers on her way to 13 points in the victory, plus she copped a pair of steals. Hannah Withrow cleared eight caroms and scored four points for Polk.
In the boys game, Polk County (2-9, 0-3) actually outscored the hosts in two quarters and tied them in anothers, but Sweetwater (4-9, 1-1) used a 20-9 second period scoring advantage to make the difference in the outcome.
In a balanced scoring effort, Gage Locke led the way for Polk with 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and dished out a half dozen assists. Bryce Coffey and Cody Groomes chipped in with 13 points apiece, with Coffey clearing six rebounds.
Chris Wimberley netted nine points for the Benton squad, while Will Richmond was the chairman of the boards with nine caroms and a half dozen points, while Blake Cross grabbed seven ricochets and dropped in four markers.
Polk County 5 15 21 15 — 56
Sweetwater 4 7 6 7 — 24
WILDKITTENS (56) — Mikayla McCleary 17, Heather McLain 16, Bella Liner 13, Withrow 4, Johnson 3, Davis 2, Miracle 1, Waldroup.
LADY WILDCATS (24) — Ariana Davidson 10, Mashburn 8, Greene 3, Rasmussen 2, Gervin 1.
3-POINTERS: Polk 2 (Liner 2); Sweetwater n/a.
FREE THROWS: Polk 18-of-23; Sweetwater n/a.
RECORDS: Polk County 7-3, 2-1 District 5-AA; Sweetwater 1-12, 0-2 District 5-AA.
Polk County 16 9 18 18 — 61
Sweetwater 14 20 16 18 — 68
POLK WILDCATS (61) — Gage Locke 14, Bryce Coffey 13, Cody Groomes 13, Wimberley 9, Richmond 6, Cross 4, Frerichs 2, Ownbey.
SWEETWATER WILDCATS (68) — Damien Lenard 19, Ashaunde Thaxton 14, Ben Allen 13, Brett Spurgeon 11, Stiles 7, Hill 4.
3-POINTERS: Polk 6 (Locke 2, Richmond 2, Wimberley, Groomes); SW 4 (Allen 2, Spurgeon 2).
FREE THROWS: Polk 9-of-14; SW 18-of-25.
RECORDS: Polk County 2-9, 0-3 District 5-AA; Sweetwater 4-9. 1-1 District 5-AA.