'Dawgs break dry spell
They needed a win, any kind of win. It didn't matter what it looked like, the Bulldogs just needed a win to get back the confidence they had to begin the year.
They got it, a convincing 46-28 win over the Huntland Hornets that was not the prettiest, but it was a win nonetheless. To top it off, it was a win in their first District 11A match-up of the season.
"Coming into the contest, I felt that we had to be the best 1-4 team in the state," Cornersville Head Coach Adrian Wilson said after the game. "It was not perfect, but we played together as a team tonight. We will enjoy this tonight and tomorrow and be ready for Santa Fe on Friday."
Josh Rich, who ended up the game 5 for 6 from three-point land, nailed a bomb from the left corner off the opening tip and the Dawgs were off and running. B.J. Robertson scored for the Hornets and Tyler Cole answered with a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Bulldogs a 6-2 lead and force a Huntland timeout.
Garret Stiles took a nice bounce pass from Steven Nelms and flew in from the right lane for an easy lay-up to make it 8-2 and Nelms swiped the ball from the Hornets on the next possession and went the distance for a 10-2 lead.
Rich and Stiles showed the kind of hustle and character that wins ballgames when the pair stepped in front of a Hornet in the lane to draw offensive fouls on consecutive possessions. The Bulldogs built a 12-4 first quarter lead that ended on another hustle play by Stiles who raced the length of the floor with just seconds to block a lay-up by Huntland.
The Hornets mounted a charge in the second quarter that was quelled by the pure shooting of Rich, who nailed two more three-bombs that led to a 24-18 Cornersville lead at the half.
Asked about Rich's knack for the long ball after the game, Wilson replied, "Here is a kid that did not even play varsity ball last year. He won himself a starting spot and, God, did he come through for us tonight and for that fact, all year so far."
Huntland would not go away and in the third quarter as some bad turnovers by the Bulldogs let them back in the game. Cornersville scored only six points in the quarter, all in the paint on two tip-ins by Stiles and a short jumper by Lucas Highfill. Huntland managed eight points and cut the lead at the end of the stanza to 30-26.
But the Dawgs would not be denied and ran away in the final quarter by out-scoring Huntland 16-2. The Bulldog defense stifled any Hornet comeback attempt, holding them scoreless for the first six minutes of the quarter.
The Dawgs won the game by 18 points and moved to 2-4 on the season. More importantly, they regained some lost confidence going into the meat of district play.
"Tonight started district play," Wilson said, "and we want to win that district championship.
If we do the things we need to do, we will compete for the title. We will take one game at a time and we can't overlook anybody.
"These kids want it, just look at the defense they played tonight. Six of them stood in there and were willing to take a charge. Huntland only had 10 field goals."
The Dawgs had a balanced scoring attack with Rich's 15 points, Stiles had 11, Cole scored nine, Highfill four, Jimmy Civils three, and Joseph Darnell and Nelms each had two.
Cornersville travels to Santa Fe tonight, a place where this group of players has never won and will play Marshall County High School at the Night of Stars Tournament Saturday at 6:30 p.m.