Cornersville High School was the first team out of the box after the New Year as they traveled to Maury County Tuesday night to take on the Columbia Academy Bulldogs. In the "Battle of the Bulldogs", it was the Cornersville's canine squads that came out on top to start 2007 on a winning note.
In the women's game, the Lady Dawgs came out growling and jumped to an early 9-0 lead in the game as they fed the "Big Dog" Kristin Fagan in the low post. Fagan scored seven of the first nine points in the contest and nine of her team's thirteen points for a 13-6 first quarter margin.
The contest was essentially over by midway in the second period as the Lady Dawgs backed up their bark with a defensive bite that sent the home team dogs scurrying for cover. Sarah Nelms wasted no time in extending her great play from the pre-holiday break as she stole the ball from Columbia Academy on the first possession of the quarter and fed the rock to Sara Barnett who poured in a three from downtown.
Sarah King flexed her muscles in the second period in the low post as she rebounded the ball with authority and made some nice put-backs. The Lady Dawgs used a balanced effort from King, Kaitlyn Hunter, Lauren Reeves, Brittany Dickens, and Ashley London to pound Columbia Academy 17-4 in the stanza for a big 30-10 halftime lead.
The inside-outside barrage continued after the break as the Lady Dawgs chased the hometown Bulldogs back into their doghouse. Coach Micah Landers used the talents of his squad well in the quarter as they ran some pretty offensive sets to lead 50-16 at the end of third period.
The fourth quarter was a time to see some young talent and Coach Landers meshed some of his younger players in with experienced ones the entire period. Brittny Wheeler, Abbey Holder, Paige Holder, Shelby Brock, Jessica King, and Alex Wolaver all saw action and showed great promise for the future as the Dawgs rolled to an easy 62-28 victory.
"I like what I saw from the team," Landers said, "Defensively we got better and we consistently did some things well." Landers added, "We have played a lot of good teams already this year and I think it has made us a little more aggressive and the kids are hungry."
Fagan led the Lady Bulldogs (5-7, 1-2) with 18 points and Nelms and Sarah King each had 8.
Garret Stiles backs up New Year's resolution with huge effort
Some people make New Year's resolutions that do not last more than a few days or a few weeks, but it looks like Garret Stiles is a man who intends to back up his words with his actions. "I made a New Year's resolution to be better at basketball", Stiles said after a contest in which he was a complete monster on the court with a high flying act that rewarded him with a double-double (23 points, 11 rebounds) and helped his squad overcome a slight three quarter hangover to win 62-45.
Cornersville's head Coach Adrian Wilson returned to the school he coached for two years and was intent on leaving with a victory and coached like a man on a mission. Although his squad was not on top of their game the entire night, Wilson urged his men on and never let them stray from the game plan.
Wilson mapped out an inside-strategy and kept with it the entire contest to wear down the hometown Bulldogs. Tyler Cole and Jake Agent were the aggressors inside and Stiles, Stephen Nelms, and Jimmy Civils did the damage from the outside. Whenever a ball came off the rim, Stiles flew from out of nowhere in a Wallanda-like manner for put-backs.
The Bulldogs led at the first quarter 14-7, but let Columbia Academy get some easy points at the free throw line in the second period to cut the lead to five at halftime, 27-22.
The CHS Dawgs kept to Wilson's game plan after the half and kept pounding and pounding on offense and defense in an attempt to wear the Columbia Academy men down and put them away. The CA Bulldogs stayed tough and only trailed by six at the end of the third quarter 41-35, but there were signs the tank was running low.
The fourth quarter was the time the Cornersville Bulldogs closed the door on the home team and pulled the pump from their tank. The physical effort from Coach Wilson's squad had left them running on fumes and the Bulldogs kept coming and coming as they stretched the lead to seven, then nine, then eleven, and finally to seventeen by the end of the game. Coach Wilson had his victory at 62-45 and Garret Stiles moved a step closer to fulfilling his personal resolution of getting better at basketball and if he keeps on improving there could be a lot of teams that could be in big trouble the rest of the season.
Tyler Cole and Jake Agent fulfilled the inside end of the game plan with 11 and 10 points respectively. The Bulldogs (6-7, 2-1) on the season started a stretch of 10 out 13 District games with their victory versus CA and seem ready to make a serious move by the time of the District Tournament next month.