Santa Fe subdues Bulldogs
On Wednesday night, the Cornersville Bulldogs saw their season come to an end when they were defeated 46-30 on the road by the second seeded Santa Fe Wildcats in the first round of the District 11-A tournament.
After narrowly losing 48-46 to the Wildcats in their previous encounter on Jan. 24, the Bulldogs (2-22) nipped at Santa Fe's heels in the first half of Wednesday's contest and trailed just 18-17 at the break.
Things went awry for Cornersville in the second half, however, as the Wildcats (15-11) outscored CHS 28-13 over the final two quarters to pull away for the 16-point victory.
Hindered by a 5-of-29 shooting performance in the second half, the Bulldogs shot just 26 percent (12-of-47) from the field overall, which included a 3-of-19 effort from three-point range. Cornersville did commit only 12 turnovers, but Santa Fe outrebounded the Bulldogs 31-23 and held a 9-7 edge on the offensive boards.
"We couldn't find the mark on our long range shots and nearly all our points in the first half came off layups and drives to the basket," said CHS coach Adrian Wilson. "They took that away in the second half and we just couldn't get our outside shots to fall and we missed some close range shots when we did get to the basket."
The Wildcats, meanwhile, committed just 12 turnovers as well and finished with 19 field goals on 42 percent shooting despite hitting only 3-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Danny Gordon led the Bulldogs with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Jamie Crowell, Hayden McMahon, and Stone Riner each added five points with McMahon grabbing six rebounds. Devonte Spencer also chipped in three points for Cornersville and Zack Smith had two points.
Forward Justin Potts paced Santa Fe with a season high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Matt Priest followed with 11 points. Hunter Clanton and Garrett Warf tallied eight and six points respectively for the Wildcats as well.
"We had some breakdowns defensively, but number 25 (Potts) had the best game of his career according to his coach," said Wilson. "We played off him because we were trying to stop their top two scorers, but he stepped up and made some shots."
Santa Fe jumped out to an early 9-3 lead before the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 11-8 late in the first quarter thanks to a layup by Gordon and a McMahon three-point play.
After Warf scored on a layup to give the Wildcats a 13-8 advantage with 1:51 left in the first period, Gordon buried a long range trey at the buzzer to narrow the gap to 13-11 at the end of the stanza.
Cornersville then grabbed a 15-13 lead early in the second period on a Smith runner and a layup by Riner before Santa Fe tallied five straight points to pull ahead 18-15 with 2:22 left in the half.
Riner hit a running bank shot in the waning seconds of the half to trim the deficit to 18-17, but the Wildcats took control of the game in the third by putting together a 14-1 run to forge a 32-18 advantage late in the quarter.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 32-24 early in the fourth with the help of a offensive put back by McMahon and layups by Crowell and Spencer before Santa Fe rattled off 10 straight points to open up a 42-24 lead with 2:21 remaining en route to claiming the 46-30 win.