With only one starter returning from last year's squad, Cornersville struggled offensively for much of the evening and trailed 13-8 midway through the third quarter. The Lady Bulldogs, though, managed to right the ship and outscored CA 17-9 the rest of the way to pull out the three-point victory.
Although Columbia Academy finished with a 10-7 edge in field goals, Cornersville held a 2-0 advantage in three-pointers and outscored CA 9-2 at the foul line. The Lady Bulldogs also outrebounded Columbia Academy 34-30 and recorded 15 steals en route to forcing 23 CA turnovers.
Point guard Briley Bean nailed a pair of treys in the third quarter to spearhead CMS' comeback and finished with a team high eight points. Reserve guard Madison Hopkins also tallied six points, eight rebounds, and four steals, while forwards Tori Reavis and Carson Coble each had four points and pulled down 11 and nine rebounds respectively. Carly Salsman added three points and three rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs as well.
"Our one positive was free throw shooting. If we don't hit those, we don't win the game. We were outsized at almost every position, but the girls fought and scrapped," said Cornersville coach Joy McMasters. "Hopkins and Salsman came off the bench and gave us a spark. Reavis played a good game despite being totally outsized in the paint and Briley hit two threes to get us back in the game in the third quarter."
Autumn Nicholson paced Columbia Academy with nine points, and Leslie Golden, Cassidy Shrader, and Hannah Weller chipped in six, four, and three points respectively.
Reavis hit a short bank shot to give Cornersville an early 2-0 lead, but CMS failed to score over the next eight and a half minutes while CA rattled off eight straight points to pull ahead 8-2 midway through the second quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs then outscored Columbia Academy 6-2 over the final 3:16 of the half with the help of a Reavis layup and two free throws apiece from Coble and Salsman to narrow the gap to 10-8.
After CA tallied the first three points of the third quarter to open up a 13-8 advantage, Cornersville put together a 10-0 run thanks to two Coble free throws, a pair of threes from Bean, and a Hopkins layup to forge an 18-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Columbia Academy scored two straight baskets to whittle the deficit to 18-17, but the Lady Bulldogs responded with a 7-3 spurt behind four points from Hopkins and a jumper from Bean to open up a 25-20 advantage with :26 left before claiming the 25-22 win.