Lady Bulldogs pull away from Richland

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Cornersville's Ashley Warren scores on a layup in the fourth quarter after stealing an inbounds pass from Richland's Shelby Allen. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs gained sole possession of first place in the District 11-A standings on Saturday night by defeating fellow co-leader Richland 56-46 in Lynnville to avenge a 40-37 overtime loss to the Lady Raiders earlier in the season.

After trailing by as many as nine points in the second quarter, Cornersville (10-9, 6-1) rallied to tie the game at 28-28 at halftime before seizing a 39-33 advantage in the third period.

Richland (6-11, 5-2) narrowed the gap to 43-42 with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs saved their best for last and closed the game with a 13-4 run to record their fourth straight victory.

"I think we've gotten better since the last time we faced them. The girls have a better understanding of their roles and what they can and can't do," said CHS coach Micah Landers. "I think we're a little bit more comfortable playing down the stretch because we've seen this kind of game go the other way. We needed this win because every game matters from here on out."

Despite hitting only two of 13 three-point attempts, Cornersville finished with 22 field goals on 42 percent shooting, highlighted by a six-of-nine effort in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs did commit 17 turnovers, but out-rebounded the Lady Raiders 35-22 and held a 14-8 edge on the offensive glass.

Although Richland committed only 12 turnovers, CHS limited the Lady Raiders to just 36 percent shooting (17 of 47), which included a three-of-15 effort from beyond the arc.

Power forward Kaitlyn Rogers came up big for Cornersville during crunch time and poured in 10 of her team-high 16 points over the final eight minutes, while point guard Makenzie Hopkins tallied 14 points on six-of-12 shooting.

With starting center Brittany Umbles sidelined by an ankle injury, freshman Ashley Umbles filled in nicely for her older sister and finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals. Ashley Warren, Martha Jane McMasters, and Brooke Holt added five, four, and three points respectively for the Lady Bulldogs as well, while Kaleigh Welch and Tiffany Skeen chipped in two points apiece.

Kaylin Stacey paced Richland with 19 points, and Ashton Edwards and Shelby Allen had 13 and nine points respectively.

Cornersville inched out to a 5-3 lead early in the first quarter thanks to a Rogers free throw and a pair of baskets from Hopkins before the Lady Raiders used a 14-5 run to pull ahead 17-10 with 7:19 left in the second period.

After the Lady Bulldogs narrowed the gap 17-15 on a layup by Skeen and a McMasters trey, Richland tallied seven straight points to push their lead to 24-15 midway through the second quarter.

CHS came charging back in the latter stages of the half and put together a 13-2 run with the help of four points from Hopkins and a Holt three to seize a 28-26 lead, before Edwards made two free throws in the waning seconds of the stanza to knot the game at 28-28.

Cornersville then controlled the third and outscored the Lady Raiders 11-5 in the quarter behind six points from Ashley Umbles to take a 39-33 lead.

After Richland went on a 9-4 run to slice the deficit to 43-42, Hopkins scored on a layup before Rogers converted a three-point play to give the Lady Bulldogs a 48-42 advantage with 1:29 left in the fourth period.

Edwards hit a bank shot to close the gap to 48-44, but CHS outscored the Lady Raiders 8-2 the rest of the way with the help of four free throws and layups from Rogers and Warren to seal their 56-46 triumph.