Lady Bulldogs hold off Culleoka

Friday, January 6, 2012
Cornersville's Makenzie Hopkins goes up for a layup in the fourth quarter after driving past Culleoka's Ashton Kolter. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

It wasn't pretty, but the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (7-9, 3-1 District) snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night by defeating the Culleoka Lady Warriors 43-42 on the road.

Although Cornersville had won the previous 17 meetings against Culleoka, the two teams battled to a 22-22 tie in the first half of Tuesday's contest after the Lady Warriors (5-8, 2-3 District) led for much of the first two quarters.

The Lady Bulldogs then opened up a five-point advantage on four different occasions in the second half before withstanding a late Culleoka rally to escape with the one-point victory.

With senior guard Ashley Warren forced to leave the game early in the first quarter due to an ankle injury, Cornersville looked out of synch on offense and mustered just 14 field goals on 31 percent shooting despite making 7-of-17 three-point attempts. The Lady Bulldogs also committed 21 turnovers and hit just 8-of-17 free throws.

"I told the girls that we had already lost this type of game twice so the fact that we won tonight was a positive. We played the same way against Community and Wayne County and got beat, but tonight we found a way to get a win," said Cornersville coach Micah Landers. "We had too many inopportune turnovers. Every time we worked hard to get a lead we found a way to hand it away."

Kaitlyn Rogers led the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points, four steals, and two blocked shots, while Martha Jane McMasters added six points. Makenzie Hopkins and Brook Holt both tallied five points as well, and Tiffany Skeen notched three points. Kaleigh Welch, Ashley Umbles, and Haley Stacey also chipped in two points apiece, and Brittany Umbles had one point.

Despite hitting 8-of-11 field goal attempts in the first quarter, Culleoka shot only 37 percent (18-of-49) from the floor overall, which included a 4-of-15 effort from beyond the arc, to go along with 24 turnovers.

Ashlyn Sharp paced Culleoka with 10 points, while Hayley Foster and Logan Scott had seven and six points respectively.

The Lady Warriors jumped out to an early 10-3 lead, before Cornersville narrowed the gap to 12-9 with 2:50 left in the first quarter thanks to treys by Hopkins and Rogers.

After Culleoka tallied the next five points to open up a 17-9 advantage, Skeen drilled a three in the closing seconds of the first period to cut the deficit to 17-12.

The Lady Bulldogs then outscored the Lady Warriors 10-5 in the second period behind seven points from Rogers to tie the game at 22-22 before taking a 27-22 lead early in the third on a Rogers layup and a trey from McMasters.

Culleoka notched five straight points to tie the score at 27-27 midway through the third period, but Cornersville put together a 10-5 run with the help of five points from Holt to pull ahead 37-32 early in the fourth.

The Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Bulldogs 7-2 over the next five and half minutes to slice the deficit to 40-39, before Rogers and Hopkins combined to hit three-of-four free throws to give Cornersville a 43-39 advantage with :23 left.

After Culleoka closed the gap to 43-40 on a Foster foul shot, the Lady Bulldogs missed free throws with :12 remaining to give the Lady Warriors one final chance to tie the game.

Culleoka forward Britni Gildersleeve then scored on a layup with :03 left, but the Lady Warriors were out of timeouts and the Lady Bulldogs allowed the remaining seconds to tick off the clock to hold on for the 43-42 win.