Lady Bulldogs grind out win against Columbia Academy
Despite struggling offensively for much of the game, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs recorded their fifth straight victory on Friday night when they defeated District foe Columbia Academy 32-24 at home to complete the sweep of the regular season series.
After beating CA 51-40 on Dec. 13, Cornersville (11-9, 7-1 District) held a 19-14 lead at halftime in Friday's contest before outscoring Columbia Academy 13-10 over the final two periods to claim the eight-point win.
With Friday's triumph, the Lady Bulldogs have won all 17 meetings against CA since the Maury County private school joined their District in 2005 and maintained a two-game lead over Santa Fe and Richland in the conference standings.
Except for a 5-of-12 shooting performance by point guard Makenzie Hopkins, CHS had trouble finding their range against Columbia Academy's 1-2-2 zone and shot just 26 percent from the floor overall, which included a 4-of-16 effort from three-point range.
Although CA attempted 15 more shots than the Lady Bulldogs thanks to a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass and outrebounded Cornersville 32-30 overall, CHS limited Columbia Academy to only 11 field goals on 21 percent shooting, which included a 0-of-8 performance from beyond the arc.
CA (10-7, 3-5 District) also struggled at the foul line and hit just 2-of-7 free throws, compared to an 8-of-13 effort at the charity stripe by the Lady Bulldogs.
Having suffered a broken wrist and a bruised jaw in the last two games against Columbia Academy, Hopkins inflicted some pain on CA in Friday's contest by knocking down four treys en route to finishing with a game high 17 points, three assists, and two steals.
Kaitlyn Rogers followed Hopkins with eight points, six rebounds, and four steals, while Brooke Holt added three points. Ashley Warren and Ashley Umbles chipped in two points apiece for Cornersville as well.
"If it hadn't been for Makenzie making shots early, it probably wouldn't have been pretty. I don't want to give Columbia Academy too much credit, but their length gave us some problems and we compounded it by missing some easy shots and making a lot of unforced errors," said CHS coach Micah Landers. "I told the girls that defense is our ace in the hole. I thought we defended extremely well and are starting to pick up our intensity."
Hanna Earl paced CA with eight points, while Addie Elrod, Morgan Thomason, and Alayna Davis each had four points.
Columbia Academy jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before the Lady Bulldogs tied the game at 8-8 midway through the first quarter thanks to a pair of threes from Hopkins and a Rogers bank shot.
Davis hit one-of-two free throws to briefly put CA up 9-8 late in the first period, but Cornersville engineered a 10-1 run on the strength of a Holt three-point play and two treys from Hopkins to take an 18-10 lead with 2:17 left in the second quarter.
After Columbia Academy narrowed the gap to 18-14 late in the half, Rogers hit one-of-two free throws to give CHS a 19-14 advantage at the break, before the Lady Bulldogs stretched their lead to 23-14 early in the third period on layups by Hopkins and Rogers.
CA tallied four straight points to trim the deficit to 23-18 early in the fourth quarter, but Cornersville outscored Columbia Academy 9-4 over the next seven minutes with the help of five free throws and baskets from Umbles and Rogers to open up a 32-22 advantage with :27 prior to taking home the 32-24 victory.