Lady Bulldogs cruise over Culleoka
by Anthony S. Puca
Micha Landers and his Lady Bulldog (11-13, 7-4) squad took care of business in Culleoka Friday night, winning 45-25 and keeping the Lady Warriors (3-24, 0-12) winless in District 11 on the season. The Bulldogs (9-12, 5-6), however could not stop Damario Williams and the talented Warriors (21-6, 12-1) for the full four quarters as they stayed even for a half and then got bulldozed, losing 65-43.
With the District Tournament just one week away, the Lady Dawgs are finding their stride at the perfect time, winning 7 out their last 10 games entering the final week of the regular season.
CHS started their contest versus Culleoka by bursting out of the box and smothering the Lady Warriors with an all out defensive assault that resulted numerous turnovers and easy baskets in transition. Tori Wolaver led the early theft ring as she stole two passes and fed Kristin Fagan for an early 4-0 lead and set the tone for the entire contest.
The trio of Wolaver, Lizzie Hewitt, and Sarah Nelms had six steals in the quarter and the Lady Bulldogs did a great job in transition with Nelms, Sara Barnett, Brittney Dickens, and Lauren Reeves finding open lanes for a commanding 18-4 lead after the first stanza.
The second quarter was much of the same for the Lady Dawgs as they were relentless in their pressure on the Lady Warriors, who did not have an answer for the battering and fell way behind 30-11 at the end of the half.
The second half started with Lizzie Hewitt continuing to turn the vice even tighter as she stole two passes on consecutive possessions. Culleoka did manage to apply some defensive pressure of their own as they held the Cornersville women to just five points in the third period, yet only managed six for themselves and trailed by eighteen, 35-17 at the end of the third.
The Lady Dawgs did not let up, even when Landers went to his bench in the final minutes as the entire game was a full pressure defensive effort that resulted in an easy 45-25 victory. The Lady Bulldogs got a balanced team effort with Nelms leading the way with 14 points, three steals, and four assists, Fagan had 10 points and six rebounds, Hewitt had 8 points and five steals, and Wolaver had a very nice game with 7 points, three steals, three rebounds, and four assists.
Warriors score 26 points in third quarter to turn away Dawgs
The Culleoka Warriors are a talented squad, evident by their 21-6 record and their firm grip on first place in the District. The Bulldogs are young and still learning how to win the big game, but they play with a lot of heart and energy every time they step on the floor.
This was a game that had two distinctive halves, with the Bulldogs applying the pressure and being the aggressor in the first half and the Warriors stepping up and showing their muscle as they ran the floor and became the aggressors in the second half.
The Bulldogs played a solid first half of basketball, keeping the Warriors off their game with a pressuring defense and solid play in the frontcourt from Tyler Cole and Jake Agent.
Cole and Agent combined for 12 of the 20 first half points for Cornersville and the backcourt of Garret Stiles, Jimmy Civils, and Stephen Nelms were all in the swarming mode on defense as they stuck like glue to the Warriors. The first half physically belonged to the Bulldogs as they hustled and banged their way to a 20-20 first half tie and left Culleoka frustrated and searching for a method to free up their big-play men.
Whatever Culleoka head Coach Bruce Slatton said to his troops at halftime should be bottled and saved because the Warriors came out of the halftime break with a vengeance and totally destroyed the Bulldogs by scoring 26 points in the third quarter.
"We have to learn to be more patient," CHS Head Coach Adrian Wilson said, "early on in third period when they made their run, we felt like we had to match them and it took us out of our game plan."
Once the talented Culleoka squad began to surge and Cornersville tried to play to the Warrior's style, the game was lost. Damario Williams (19 pts.) and his running mates took their game to another level in the third period and seized control of the ballgame for good as they leapt out to a 46-31 lead.
The Warriors just continued to pile it on the Bulldogs the entire fourth quarter as they raced away to an easy 65-43 victory and solidified themselves as the team to beat in the District tournament which will be hosted by the Bulldogs beginning February 12th.
Jake Agent led the Dawgs with 11 points and five rebounds, Tyler Cole had 10 points (3 three pointers), 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, and Garret Stiles had 8 points, five rebounds, and three assists.