CMS Bulldogs knock off Knights
On Thursday night, the Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs picked up their first win under new coach Gerard Randolph when they defeated the Riverside Christian Academy Knights 38-33 at home.
With Randolph sitting his usual starting lineup at the beginning of the game, CMS trailed by as many as 13 points in the first quarter but steadily chipped away at the deficit and narrowed the gap to 21-17 at halftime.
The Bulldogs (1-5) finally overtook the Knights in the second half and used an 18-6 run to pull ahead 35-27 with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter before staving off a late comeback attempt by RCA to claim the five-point victory.
"It feels great to get a win. I'm proud of those guys because they fought all the way until the end. I told them that we've got to learn how to close out games and to give me everything they've got. This win should help their confidence," said Randolph. "I thought my younger kids played hard in the Bridgeforth game the other night so I wanted to reward them by letting them have their names called at the start of the tonight's game. I was pleased with the effort that they gave me while they were out there."
Bolstered by a 5-of-9 shooting performance from center Ty Landers, Cornersville shot a respectable 44 percent from the field overall (14-of-32) while outscoring the Knights 9-3 at the foul line.
RCA (1-5) did outrebound the Bulldogs 41-25 and held a commanding 24-4 edge on the offensive glass, but were unable to take advantage of those extra scoring opportunities and finished with only 12 field goals on 20 percent shooting.
Landers was the lone player to break double digits in the contest and led Cornersville with 12 points and eight rebounds. Kolbe McMahon also tallied eight points, seven rebounds, seven steals, and three assists, while Austin Ridinger, Cade Landers, and Will Vanhooser added seven, five, and four points respectively. Brice Dunkleman rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs with two points.
"I was very happy with the way the starters played when they got in. They got the ball down inside to Ty Landers. We can be a pretty good team when we get the ball to Ty," said Randolph.
Taylor Gleghorn and Eli Wright both scored eight points to pace the Knights, while Trey Dollar and Will Elridge notched seven and six points respectively. Jacob Anderson chipped in four points for RCA as well.
Cornersville found themselves in a big hole early and trailed 13-0 midway through the first quarter before tallying the final eight points of the stanza thanks to a Ridinger three-point play, a layup by Landers, and a McMahon trey to whittle the deficit to 13-8.
Gleghorn scored on a layup at the start of the second period to make it 15-8, but the Bulldogs rattled off six straight points on layups by Ty Landers, Ridinger, and McMahon to close the gap to 15-14.
After the Knights went on a 6-1 run to push their lead to 21-15 lead late in the second quarter, Dunkleman hit a layup in the final minute of the half to trim the deficit to 21-17 at the break before Ridinger knocked down a short jumper early in the third quarter to narrow the gap to 21-19.
RCA notched four of the next five points to open up a 25-20 advantage with 1:57 left in the third period, but Cornersville came roaring back and put together a 15-2 spurt behind 7 points from Ty Landers and four points from Cade Landers to seize a 35-27 lead late in the fourth.
The Knights sliced the deficit to 35-33 on the strength of threes from Wright and Dollar and had possession of the ball in the waning moments of the contest.
Ty Landers, however, helped preserve the Bulldogs tenuous lead by making a steal with :04 left before RCA was called for an intentional foul.
After Ty Landers hit one-of-two foul shots to give CMS 36-33 advantage, Vanhooser made two free throws with .6 of a second left to seal Cornersville's 38-33 win.