Moore County staves off Bulldogs
Despite making a spirited fourth quarter rally, the Cornersville Bulldogs (0-6) came up short against Moore County on Tuesday night, as they dropped a 60-55 decision to the Raiders at home.
Moore County (3-4) led by double digits for much of the contest and held a 30-19 lead at halftime before opening up a 48-33 advantage late in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs then came storming back in the fourth period and cut the deficit to three points twice, but the Raiders were able to hang for the win thanks to some clutch foul shooting by reserve guard Cole Boyce, who made six free throws in the final :47 of play.
"We're not in a position where we can fall behind early and give a team big leads. I think we're showing a lot more fight than we were earlier in the season, but the first quarter was the difference in the game tonight," said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "Moore County is a gritty team and after the first half we matched their intensity. I think if we can break through and get a win we'll be ok."
Bolstered by a 9-of-13 shooting performance by senior forward Hayden McMahon, Cornersville shot 47 percent (18-of-38) from the field overall, which included a 2-of-6 effort from three-point range, while knocking down 17-of-20 free throws.
McMahon spearheaded the Bulldogs' comeback attempt by pouring in 12 of his season high 22 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 11 rebounds and four steals. Tate Lowery followed McMahon with 17 points and four assists, while Jacob Griffis and Tyler Lowery tallied eight and five points respectively. Dakota Lovett chipped in two points for the Bulldogs as well, and Jamie Crowell had one point.
"I thought Hayden could do some good things in the post and we tried to get the ball to him in the second half. That was my plan coming out of halftime," said Randolph.
The Raiders, meanwhile, finished with 20 field goals on 43 percent shooting, hit 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc, and made 15-of-22 foul shots. Moore County also outrebounded CHS 26-23 and held a 12-5 edge on the offensive glass.
Dalton Barrier and Ben Harvey paced Moore County with 16 and 14 points respectively, while Blydge Farrar added seven points. Jordan Barrier and Boyce notched six points apiece for the Raiders as well.
Cornersville inched out to an early 3-0 lead on three free throws, before Moore County went on a 15-0 run to pull ahead 15-3 late in the first quarter.
After CHS trimmed the deficit to 16-7 on a layup by Lovett and two Tate Lowery free throws, Dalton Barrier converted a three-point play in the waning moments of the first period to give the Raiders a 19-7 advantage.
The Bulldogs outscored Moore County 10-4 over the next 4:53 with the help of four points from McMahon and a Tyler Lowery trey to narrow the gap to 23-17, but the Raiders closed the half with a 7-2 spurt to push their lead to 30-19 at the break.
In the third, Moore County tallied the first five points of the quarter to make it 35-19 before Cornersville put together a 10-2 run behind six points from McMahon to whittle the deficit to 37-29 midway through the stanza.
The Raiders outscored CHS 11-4 over the next three minutes to extend their lead to 48-33 late in the third period, but the Bulldogs responded with a 16-4 spurt on the strength of 10 points from McMahon and a pair of baskets from Griffis to close the gap to 52-49 with 3:00 left in the fourth.
After Moore County stretched their lead to 58-51 on a James Daughrity layup and four free throws from Boyce, Tate Lowery scored two straight layups to slice the deficit to 58-55 with :10 remaining.
Boyce then came through at the charity stripe again and hit two foul shots with 3.8 seconds left to seal the Raiders 60-55 win.