The Cornersville Bulldogs ran into a buzz saw Tuesday night, as they suffered a 51-20 loss at home to a powerful Culleoka Warrior squad, which stands atop the District 11-A standings and is currently ranked fourth in the state in Class A.
Although Cornersville (9-9, 1-4 District) managed to slow down the tempo of the game, Culleoka (17-2, 5-0 District) controlled the contest from start to finish and outscored the Bulldogs in each quarter to steadily pull away for the 31-point victory.
Playing without starting point guard Josh Pope, Cornersville was never able to establish an offensive rhythm and was overwhelmed at times by the Warriors superior size and athleticism. The Bulldogs committed 26 turnovers and finished with a season low seven field goals on 26 percent shooting, which included a 2 of 14 effort from three-point range.
"We just didn't handle their pressure well. They're the best defensive team we've played this season and definitely the most athletic," said Cornersville head coach Adrian Wilson. "Since we didn't have our starting point guard, we had trouble getting going and were only able to run a couple of sets offensively."
Center Joseph Darnell led the Bulldogs with seven points and five rebounds, while reserve guard Dillon Bean tallied six points on two three-pointers. Flint Davis (two points), Garrett Stiles (two points), P.J. Allen (two points), and Brent Pope (one point) rounded out the scoring for Cornersville.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, limited Culleoka to only 38 percent shooting (21-55), but the Warriors committed just six turnovers and held a 15-3 edge on the offensive glass while finishing with 28 more field goal attempts than Cornersville.
"We gave an effort and played really hard. I thought we actually did well defensively. Our problem was on offense," said Wilson.
Guard Chad Stephens paced Culleoka with 15 points and five rebounds, while C.J. Holt and Shawn Beach tallied eight and six points respectively. Riley Walton and James Upshaw each added five points apiece for the Warriors as well.
The Bulldogs trailed just 6-4 late in the first quarter thanks to a pair of field goals by Darnell, but the floodgates opened up shortly after that point, as Culleoka ripped off 14 straight points to forge a 20-4 lead with 5:08 left in the second period.
Cornersville trimmed the deficit to 24-10 late in the quarter with the help of a three-point play by Darnell and a Bean trey before Walton drilled a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the half to give the Warriors a 27-10 advantage at the break.
After Stiles hit a layup midway through the third quarter to make it 27-12, the Bulldogs failed to score for nearly eight minutes while Culleoka put together a 16-0 run to open up a 43-12 cushion with 4:51 left in the fourth period en route to the 51-20 victory.