Bulldogs end decade-long losing streak, advance to Regionals

Friday, February 16, 2007

by Anthony S. Puca

Staff Writer


"I am not sure, but I do know it was the late eighties or early nineties," Cornersville head coach Adrian Wilson said after his Bulldogs defeated Huntland 40-25 in a District 11-A play in game that clinched a spot in the regionals. It was also Wilson's first post season game as a head coach, and gaining a win is a great tribute to the first year coach whose squad played what Wilson described as, "The most complete game we have played all year."

The host Bulldogs started the game fairly well as they defended with great intensity and crashed the boards early. After an initial few minutes of ragged play, the teams began to settle down and Huntland scored first, only to be answered by a sky-walking Garret Stiles put-back to tie the game at 2-2.

After that, the Dawgs defense showed its fangs, first on a great step in by Stiles that went the other on an offensive foul by the Hornets and then, Jake Agent copies Stiles and puts his big body in front of a Huntland player and draws another charge. The Bulldogs were fired up in front of the noisy home crowd and Chuck Bassham gave them all something to cheer about as he drained a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to give the Dawgs a 7-2 first quarter lead.

After a Huntland turn-over to start the period, Jimmy Civils found Stiles on a pretty dish in the lane for a lay-in and then Civils banged a three-bomb to put the Dawgs up 12-2 and force a Hornet timeout. Huntland came out of the T.O., cut the lead to six at one point before Agent muscled in a tough basket underneath and Stiles beat the halftime buzzer with a rebound and a put-back for a 20-12 lead.

Cornersville displayed some great poise coming out of the locker room as they continued with their fine play on the defensive end, scrambled for every loose ball, and cleared the glass with authority. Bassham had four points in the 3rd period, Agent had three, and Jimmy Civils' buzzer beater gave him five for a 31-18 Bulldog lead.

Neither team scored for almost two minutes to begin the fourth period with Huntland breaking the ice with a three-pointer by Joseph Wilkinson that cut the lead to ten. The Bulldogs just kept pressing and trapping as they had all night and eventually the game was sealed on a great steal and lay-up by Civils that put the home team up 13 and they finished the Hornets off by a score of 40-25.

" One and done or win and go to the Region", those were the bulletin board words Wilson had inked earlier in the day he got his wish and a semi-final game versus the tough Moore County Raiders at home Friday night at 7:45 pm. Stiles had 12 pts., 8 rebounds; Civils had 10 pts., 4 steals, Agent 9 pts. 3 rbs., and Bassham finished with 6 points.