Elks edge CMS Bulldogs in overtime
On Monday night, the Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs came tantalizingly close to picking up their first win of the year, before suffering a gut wrenching 41-39 overtime loss to the Elkton Elks in the first round of the Cornersville Athletic Booster Club tournament.
After overcoming an 11-point third quarter deficit to tie the game at 31-31 at the end of regulation, the Bulldogs (0-3) held a tenuous 39-37 lead in the waning moments of overtime.
Elkton, however, managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as Elk point guard Payton Hall canned a three-pointer with :07 left before knocking down one-of-two free throws after a CMS turnover to hand Cornersville a crushing two-point loss.
Although Elkton held a slim 16-15 edge in field goals, the Bulldogs had opportunities to potentially win the game at the foul line, but made just 8-of-21 free throws overall, which included a 5-of-14 effort in the fourth quarter. The Elks, meanwhile, hit 7-of-14 attempts at the charity stripe.
Both teams were plagued by turnovers, as CMS committed 28 miscues, while Elk turned the ball over 30 times.
"I thought if we took care of the ball we'd win the game. Free throws and turnovers cost us tonight," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "I was happy that we showed some fight. I talked to them after the Huntland game about playing with heart and they did that tonight. I thought we had a good chance of winning once we took the lead, but their kid just hit a great shot."
Power forward Ty Landers and shooting guard Kolbe McMahon shouldered much of the offensive load for the Bulldogs. Landers poured in 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot, while McMahon tallied 14 points, nine steals, eight rebounds, and four assists. Austin Ridinger also chipped in four points and six rebounds for Cornersville.
"Ty played well towards the end of the game. I thought he worked hard around the basket and was more physical under the glass," said Randolph.
Hall paced Elkton with 22 points, while Jedidiah Jenkins added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Kyle Oliver notched six points for the Elks as well.
Elkton got off to a fast start and raced out to a 10-2 lead early in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs went on a 13-6 run behind seven points from McMahon and four points from Landers to slice the deficit to 16-15 at the end of the first period, but the Elks outscored Cornersville 8-2 through the first five minutes of the second quarter to open up a 24-17 advantage.
After McMahon hit a baseline jumper late in the first half to narrow the gap to 24-19 at the break, Elkton tallied the first six points of the third quarter to push their lead to 30-19.
The Bulldogs began to claw their way back into the contest and put together a 10-0 spurt on the strength of five points from McMahon and three-points from Landers to whittle the deficit to 30-29 late in the fourth quarter.
Hall made one-of-two free throws to give the Elks a 31-29 advantage, but Landers was fouled on a layup attempt and hit two clutch foul shots with 5.8 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime knotted at 31-31.
Elkton grabbed a 35-31 lead early in the extra session thanks to a pair of baskets by Hall, but Landers made two consecutive layups to retie the game at 35-35 with 1:31 left.
After Jenkins hit two free throws to put the Elks up 37-35, Landers converted a three-point play, before making one-of-two free throws to stake CMS to a 39-37 advantage with :29 remaining.
Hall missed a three-pointer on Elkton's ensuing possession, but he intercepted a Bulldog pass a few moments later and buried a trey from the right wing to give the Elks a 40-39 lead.
Cornersville then turned the ball over on their final two possessions while Hall made one-of-two free throws with :05 to wrap up Elkton's hard fought 41-39 victory.