Lady Bulldogs rally past Community

Friday, November 18, 2011
Cornersville guard Brooke Holt knocks down a three-pointer in the third quarter against Community. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After losing four seniors from last year's District 11-A championship squad, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs faced some adversity in their season opener on Tuesday night, but jelled in time to defeat the Community Viqueens 48-38 at home.

With senior point guard and three-time All-District selection Makenzie Hopkins still sidelined by a knee injury that she suffered in June, Cornersville appeared to be in trouble early in the second half and trailed the Viqueens 29-22 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs, though, found their stride after that point and outscored Community 26-9 the rest of the way to claim the 10-point victory.

"I think this win was big for us confidence wise," said Cornersville coach Micah Landers. "There's a cloud with Makenzie being out because we don't know when she's going to be back. It was a good team win tonight and a good team effort."

Although the Lady Bulldogs finished with only 13 field goals on 39 percent shooting, Cornersville hit 4-of-11 three-pointers and outscored the Viqueens 18-3 at the foul line while attempting 21 more free throws (33-12) than Community.

The Viqueens, meanwhile, shot only 38 percent from the field (16-of-42) and made just 3-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc. Community did outrebound the Lady Bulldogs 29-20 and held a 13-9 edge on the offensive glass, but committed 17 turnovers, compared to only 11 miscues for Cornersville.

Junior center Kaitlyn Rogers led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points, five rebounds, and four steals, while senior guard Ashley Warren tallied 10 points and three assists. Reserve guard Brooke Holt also added nine points and Brittany Umbles collected eight points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Martha Jane McMasters (three points), Kaleigh Welch (two points), and Tiffany Skeen (two points) rounded out the scoring for Cornersville.

Katie Leverette paced the Viqueens with nine points, while Brittany Leverette, Hannah Busbee, and Shaina Stacey had eight, six, and five points respectively.

Cornersville jumped out to an early 7-2 lead thanks to a Warren three and layups from Rogers and Skeen, but Community answered with a 9-2 run to pull ahead 11-9 late in the first quarter.

After Warren nailed a trey from the top of the key to put the Lady Bulldogs up 12-11 with :13 left in the first period, the Viqueens tallied five of the next seven points to grab a 16-14 advantage early in the second.

Cornersville outscored Community 6-4 over the final five and a half minutes of the second quarter with the help of four free throws and a short jumper from McMasters to tie the game at 20-20, but the Viqueens opened the third period with a 9-2 spurt to take a 29-22 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs quickly counterpunched and hit Community with an 11-2 burst, highlighted by two threes from Holt, to seize a 33-31 advantage early in the fourth period.

"We had some kids come off the bench and make some shots," said Landers. "We played nine girls tonight and none of them hurt us while they were on the floor."

Brittany Leverette buried a trey to stake the Viqueens to a brief 34-33 lead, but Cornersville controlled play down the stretch and outscored Community 15-4 the rest of the way behind six points from Umbles and five points from Rogers to escape with the 48-38 win.