Having won the last three District 11-A tournament titles, Mt. Pleasant showed why they are one of the favorites to claim another conference crown in the first half of Tuesday's contest and built a 40-21 lead through the first two quarters of play.
The Bulldogs tried to claw their way back into the contest and closed the gap to 58-48 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Tigers poured it on down the stretch and outscored Cornersville 20-4 the rest of the way to claim the 26-point victory.
"We had to get used to their speed at the start of the game. Mt. Pleasant is undefeated for a reason. We picked it up the next two quarters and played really well in the third. I thought we had a chance there for awhile, but their pressure got to us in the fourth quarter," said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "This was a good team that we played tonight so all and all I was proud of the guys."
Aided by a 9-of-13 shooting performance in the first period, the Tigers shot a sizzling 54 percent (32-of-59) from the field overall and knocked down 7-of-15 attempts from three-point range.
Mt. Pleasant did commit 22 turnovers, but outrebounded the Bulldogs 37-27 and held a 12-8 advantage on the offensive boards.
Point guard Toby Frierson was the Tigers' main offensive catalyst and poured in a game high 32 points on 14-of-22 shooting to go along with eight steals and six assists. DaVonte' Webster, Jordan Woodson, and Dakota Brown followed Frierson with 10, nine, and eight points respectively, while Ken'Yores Smith and Brennan Berry both added six points.
Despite hitting 10-of-16 field goal attempts in the third quarter, the Bulldogs shot only 36 percent (20-of-55) from the floor overall, which included a 3-of-22 effort from beyond the arc, while committing 20 turnovers.
Mt. Pleasant got off to a red hot start and jumped out to a 17-4 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 10-6 over the next 5:22 behind four points apiece from Tate Lowery and Tyler Lowery to narrow the gap to 23-14 early in the second period, but the Tigers responded with a 17-5 run to open up a 40-19 advantage late in the half.
After Tate Lowery hit two free throws to trim the deficit to 40-21 at the break, Cornersville outscored Mt. Pleasant 20-11 through the first six minutes of the third quarter with the help of eight points from McMahon, six points from Tate Lowery, and a couple of treys from Crowell and Smith to close the gap to 51-41.
Frierson scored two straight layups to push the Tigers' lead to 55-41 late in the third period, before the Bulldogs sliced the deficit to 58-48 with 4:21 left in the fourth thanks to Griffis free throw and baskets from McMahon, Lovett, and Tate Lowery.
Mt. Pleasant then turned on the afterburners and put together a 13-2 run to forge a 71-50 advantage with 2:07 left.
Tate Lowery hit a short jumper to make it 71-52 before the Tigers notched the final seven points of the game to cap their 78-52 win.