Lady Bulldogs slip past Santa Fe

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Cornersville's Makenzie Hopkins scores on a layup after making a steal to give the Lady Bulldogs a 41-39 lead against Santa Fe with :32 left in the fourth quarter. Photo by Pap

The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs continued their recent mastery of Santa Fe by going on the road and defeating the Lady Wildcats 48-43 on Friday night to record their seventh straight victory over their District 11-A rival.

Boasting an 8-3 record and a 3-0 mark in District play coming into Friday's game, Santa Fe appeared they might break CHS' hex over them and held a 39-37 lead with 1:14 left in the contest after rallying from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit.

The Lady Bulldogs (6-5, 2-1 District), however, conjured up some late game magic and outscored the Lady Wildcats 11-4 the rest of the way with the help of some clutch foul shooting and a pair of big baskets from guards Brooke Holt and Makenzie Hopkins to pull out the five-point victory.

"I was pleased with the way the girls played tonight. They bought into the game plan and did a good job of executing it," said Cornersville coach Micah Landers. "It was good team effort and we got contributions from a lot of players."

After hitting just 5-of-24 field goal attempts in the first half, the Lady Bulldogs shot a blistering 56 percent (9-of-16) over the last two quarters to finish 14-of-40 from the floor overall, which included a 3-of-12 effort from three-point range.

CHS also outrebounded Santa Fe 32-24 and knocked down 17-of-21 free throws, highlighted by a 9-of-10 performance in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Wildcats, meanwhile, finished with 16 field goals on 32 percent shooting and made 5-of-19 attempts from beyond the arc, but went to the foul line only 10 times, hitting six.

Cornersville center Kaitlyn Rogers saved her best for last, as she scored 11 of her team high 16 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals.

Hopkins followed Rogers with 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Brittany Umbles and Ashley Umbles both had seven points. Holt and Martha Jane McMasters chipped in four and three points respectively as well.

Cornersville senior guard Ashley Warren failed to score, but helped limit Santa Fe's leading scorer Baylee Hemphill to 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Allison Pack paced the Lady Wildcats with 18 points, while Ashley Faulkner and Jenson White each had six points.

The Lady Bulldogs got off to a strong start and jumped out to a 9-3 lead midway through the first quarter on the strength of treys from Rogers and Hopkins.

Santa Fe went on a 10-3 run to pull ahead 13-12 midway through the second period, before Cornersville outscored the Lady Wildcats 6-2 over the next 2:44 thanks to four points from Ashley Umbles and two Brittany Umbles free throws to claim a 18-15 lead.

After Hemphill drilled a three late in the second quarter to send the game into the break tied at 18-18, the Lady Bulldogs opened the second half with a 19-11 run behind eight points from Rogers and four points from Hopkins to forge a 37-29 advantage midway through the fourth period.

The Lady Wildcats came storming back and rattled off 10 straight points to seize a 39-37 lead, but Holt hit a driving layup to knot the game at 39-39 with 1:02 left.

Hopkins then made a steal near midcourt and scored on a layup to stake CHS to a 41-39 advantage before Santa Fe committed another turnover and Rogers sank two free throws with :24 left to push the Lady Bulldogs lead to 43-39.

Faulkner sandwiched a pair of layups around a Rogers foul shot to whittle the deficit to 44-43, but Hopkins calmly hit two free throws to make it 46-43 with 4.5 seconds remaining.

Holt then stole the Lady Wildcats' inbounds pass before hitting two more free throws to seal Cornersville's 48-43 victory.