Bulldogs upend Culleoka
After experiencing several near misses earlier in the season, the Cornersville Bulldogs (1-8, 1-2 District) picked up their first win under new coach Gerard Randolph on Friday night when they defeated the Culleoka Warriors 48-43 on the road.
The two teams battled to a 22-22 tie in the first half before Cornersville surged out to a 35-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Culleoka (2-8, 0-4 District) rallied to tie the game at 41-41 with 3:59 left, but the Bulldogs kept plugging away and outscored the Warriors 7-2 down the stretch with the help of some clutch foul shooting by sophomore point guard Tate Lowery to pull out the five-point victory.
Thanks to Friday's triumph, Cornersville snapped a 24-game losing streak and recorded their first win in District 11-A play since beating Hampshire 57-50 on Feb. 5, 2010.
"It feels great to get a win. I got so caught up in the game that I didn't realize it was over until the final horn sounded. When I heard it go off, I just thought 'We did it!' It feels like a weight has been lifted," said Randolph. "The fact that it was a District win means a lot too. After the game, the players were already talking about practice and preparing for the next game. Hopefully we can build on this."
Although Culleoka finished with a 17-15 edge in field goals and an 8-4 advantage in three-pointers, the Warriors struggled mightily at the foul line and hit just 1-of-13 free throws overall, compared to a 14-of-23 effort at the charity stripe by the Bulldogs.
Cornersville also outrebounded the Warriors 31-25, held a 12-8 edge on the offensive glass, and committed two fewer turnovers (18-16) than Culleoka.
Tate Lowery led the Bulldogs with 15 points and six assists, while Zack Smith knocked down three treys and tallied 13 points. Hayden McMahon and Jacob Griffis both notched eight points as well and pulled down 10 and seven rebounds respectively. Jamie Crowell also chipped in four points for Cornersville, while Tyler Lowery failed to score but recorded a team high three steals.
Ty Daly hit five threes and paced the Warriors with 19 points. Julius Armstrong followed Daly with 17 points, while Devante Rogers, Sam Davis, and Austin Crepps added four, two, and one point respectively.
The Bulldogs got off to a solid start and jumped out to a 9-5 lead late in the first quarter on the strength of two Smith treys, a layup by Griffis, and a Crowell free throw.
Culleoka went on a 17-5 run to pull ahead 22-14 midway through the second period, but Cornersville outscored the Warriors 8-0 over the final 3:34 of the half with the help of a Crowell three and a pair of baskets by Tate Lowery and Griffis to tie the game at 22-22.
The Bulldogs then opened the third quarter with a 8-2 spurt behind six points from Tate Lowery and two McMahon free throws to seize a 30-24 late in the stanza.
After Armstrong hit a trey at the end of the third period, Crepps converted one-of-two free throws at the start of the fourth to cut the deficit to 30-28, before Cornersville tallied five straight points on a two free throws by McMahon and a Smith three to open up a 35-28 advantage.
The Warriors then used a 13-6 run to knot the contest at 41-41 midway through the fourth quarter, but McMahon scored on a layup after making a steal to put the Bulldogs up 43-41 with 2:31 left.
Culleoka came up empty on their ensuing possession before Tate Lowery sandwiched four free throws around a Armstrong layup to give Cornersville a 47-43 lead with 38.5 seconds left.
The Warriors then missed four three-point attempts on their final two possessions while Lowery made one-of-two foul shots with :06 left to clinch the Bulldogs 48-43 triumph.