Wins are worth waiting for. The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs bounced back from a disappointing loss to Richland the night before by crushing District rival Santa Fe 57-30 at home Saturday evening after the tip-off was delayed 80 minutes because no officials had been assigned to the game by the TSSAA.
The Lady Wildcats (9-4, 3-2 District) had won their last five meetings against CHS, but after the referees arrived the Lady Bulldogs (12-4, 3-1 District) ran roughshod over Santa Fe with the help of a dominant defensive performance. Cornersville built a 28-17 lead in the first half before outscoring the Lady Wildcats 29-13 over the final two quarters to roll to the 27-point victory.
With their win against Santa Fe, the Lady Bulldogs moved into sole possession of second place in the District 11-A standings.
"I don't know if we were overconfident against Richland, but we played the game the way it is supposed to be played tonight. I thought we came out with a lot more energy," said CHS head coach Micah Landers. "It's tough to play two nights in a row, but I might have lost my mind if we had to wait until Tuesday to play again. It was good to come in here and get some redemption."
The Lady Wildcats wilted against Cornersville's swarming full court pressure. CHS limited Santa Fe to just 12 field goals on 33 percent shooting and recorded 20 steals while forcing 31 Lady Wildcat turnovers.
"We knew coming in that our press would be effective since they were pretty limited in terms of their ball handling," said Landers.
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, scored several easy lay ups off steals and aggressively drove the ball to the basket in their half court sets. As a result, Cornersville shot 50 percent from the field (18-36) and attempted 30 free throws, hitting 19.
After being held to a season low eight points by Richland, junior guard Sara Nelms returned to form against Santa Fe and spearheaded CHS' offensive attack by scoring a game high 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting to go along with five assists, five steals, and two rebounds.
Lady Bulldog center Sarah King continued her outstanding play in the paint and hit all six of her field goal attempts to finish with 15 points, five rebounds and two steals. Makenzie Hopkins and Courtney Cook also tallied five points apiece with Hopkins recording five steals and a blocked shot as well.
Haley Fagan (three points), Morgan Carroll (three points), Nina Endsley (two points), Kristin Fagan (one point), and Ashley Warren (one point) rounded out the scoring for Cornersville.
Bobbi Dodson paced Santa Fe with 11 points, while Tiffany Black added six points.
CHS jumped out to an early 5-2 lead on a couple of layups by King and a Hopkins free throw, before the Lady Wildcats closed the first quarter with an 8-3 spurt to seize a 10-8 advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs though began to turn up the heat defensively and put together a 12-0 run on the strength of six points from Nelms and four points from King to take a 20-10 lead with 2:40 in the second period.
Santa Fe narrowed the gap to 22-17, but Cornersville notched the final six points of the half, highlighted by a Nelms trey, to open up an 11-point advantage at the break.
CHS then put down the hammer in the third and opened the quarter with a 17-3 spurt behind seven points from Nelms to forge a 45-20 lead with 1:59 left in the stanza.
The Lady Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 47-28 midway through the fourth, before CHS outscored Santa Fe 10-2 the rest of the way to cap their 57-30 triumph.