While it wasn't a thing of beauty, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (2-0) got the job done Friday night when they defeated a senior laden Community Viqueen squad 38-24 at home on the strength of a dominant second half performance.
With the referees allowing a considerable amount of physical play, both teams found points hard to come by in the first half, as Community held a 14-11 advantage at the break. The Lady Bulldogs, however, took it to the Viqueens in the second half and used a 27-2 run to forge a 38-16 lead late in the fourth quarter en route to their sixth straight victory over Community.
"It was pretty ugly. I'm not going to lie. I believe in these kids though. They're not going to lie down and let you run over them," said Cornersville head coach Micah Landers.
Although the Lady Bulldogs shot just 28 percent from the floor overall (13-46), Cornersville hit eight of their first 15 field goal attempts in the second half to fuel their pivotal run. The Lady Bulldogs also grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and finished with a 39-26 edge on the boards.
Cornersville, meanwhile, compensated for their poor offensive performance with outstanding defense, and limited Community to just 10 field goals on 20 percent shooting, which included a 1 of 16 performance in the third quarter.
"I was really proud of our defense in the third quarter. I thought we were in a little better condition and we wore them down. Where we failed offensively, our defense made up for it," said Landers.
Shooting guard Sara Nelms scored 13 of her game high 15 points over the final two periods to spearhead the Lady Bulldogs second half surge, while also registering four rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
Center Sarah King tallied nine points, 12 rebounds, and three steals for Cornersville as well, while freshman point guard Makenzie Hopkins knocked down two three-pointers and finished with eight points and three rebounds.
"I thought Sarah did a great job on the boards tonight and Makenzie gave us a little bonus scoring that no one knew we had," said Landers.
Abbey Holder (three points), Morgan Carroll (two points), and Courtney Cook (one point) rounded out the scoring for Lady Bulldogs.
Aubrey Boyce paced the Viqueens with eight points, while Jessica Thompson had four points. Carly Daffern and Kelli Brown each had three points for Community as well.
Cornersville inched out to a 4-2 lead late in the first quarter thanks to a jumper by Nelms and a lay up by King, before Community tallied the next five points to claim a 7-4 advantage early in the second period.
The Lady Bulldogs then tied the score at 7-7 on a Cook free throw and a short bank shot by King, but the Viqueens responded with a 7-2 spurt to open up a 14-9 lead late in the first half.
After Hopkins made two free throws in the waning moments of the second quarter to cut the deficit to three at the break, Cornersville imposed their will on Community in the third and put together an 18-0 run behind nine points from Nelms and a couple three-pointers from Holder and Hopkins to seize a 29-14 advantage late in the stanza.
Thompson hit a jumper in the closing seconds of the third to finally break the Viqueen drought and trim the deficit to 29-16, but Hopkins buried a trey from the right wing at the start of the fourth before Nelms scored a lay up to make it 34-16.
Following two free throws by Nelms, King hit a lay up to give the Lady Bulldogs a twenty-two-point cushion with 2:15 remaining. Community then tallied the final eight points of the contest for the 38-24 final.