Defeating Columbia Academy proved to be too tall of a task for the Cornersville Bulldogs (2-16, 0-8 District), as CA notched a 48-33 victory at CHS thanks to a strong performance by their frontcourt.
Having defeated Cornersville 57-31 in their previous meeting on Dec. 13, Columbia Academy (8-12, 3-5 District) built a 31-18 lead in the first half before outscoring the Bulldogs 17-15 over the final two quarters to record their seventh straight win over CHS.
CA did most of their damage in the paint and finished with 20 field goals on 48 percent shooting, while attempting only five three-pointers, hitting one. Columbia Academy also outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-14, held a commanding 14-4 edge on the offensive glass, and committed just 12 turnovers.
Although Cornersville turned the ball over only 10 times, the Bulldogs shot only 33 percent (13-of-39) from the floor overall despite hitting 6-of-12 field goal attempts in the first quarter. CHS also made just 4-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc and missed 5-of-8 free throws.
"We did a much better job handling the ball than we normally do and did a great job of driving to the rim, but we missed a lot of close shots around the basket," said Wilson.
Freshman guard Jamie Crowell led Cornersville with 13 points and four steals, while Hayden McMahon tallied 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots. Zack Smith and Danny Gordon also chipped in six and four points respectively for the Bulldogs.
Center Zach Johnson paced CA with 12 points, while forward Richard Law and guard Caleb Pitts added 10 and eight points respectively.
The Bulldogs hung tough early on and battled Columbia Academy to an 11-11 tie late in the first quarter with the help of seven points from Crowell and baskets from McMahon and Gordon.
After CA tallied four straight points to grab a 15-11 lead, McMahon hit a reverse layup in the waning moments of the first period to cut the deficit to 15-13.
Columbia Academy then took control of the game in the second quarter and outscored CHS 16-5 in the stanza to open up a 31-18 advantage at the break, before pushing their lead to 33-18 early in the third on a Law offensive put back.
Cornersville went on a 7-2 run, highlighted by a McMahon three-point play, to narrow the gap to 35-25 midway through the third quarter, but CA responded with four straight points to make it 39-25 late in the third period.
Following a trey by Smith, which trimmed the deficit 39-28 with 1:12 left in the third quarter, Columbia Academy rattled off eight consecutive points to forge a 47-28 lead late in the fourth prior to claiming the 48-33 victory.