The Bulldogs held a 24-23 lead at the break, but Santa Fe (8-7, 3-2 District) quickly grabbed the momentum at the start of the second half and outscored CHS 33-19 over the final two quarters en route to recording their eighth straight victory over Cornersville.
After hitting 8-of-15 field goal attempts in the first half, the Bulldogs shot just 25 percent (6-of-24) over the last two periods to finish 14-of-39 from the floor overall, which included a 5-of-18 effort from three-point range.
Cornersville did outrebound the Wildcats 23-21 and held a 7-5 edge on the offensive glass, but committed 18 turnovers and hit only 10-of-18 free throws in the contest.
"We just couldn't make a basket in the third quarter. We started the game running our offense inside out, but we just lost focus. Our post players had guys on their backs all night, but we didn't get them the ball," said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "We missed a chance to get an important District win. I wanted to start the second half of the season on a positive note. This was a game that we should have won."
Point guard Tate Lowery led the Bulldogs with 11 points, and Jamie Crowell tallied nine points and four assists. Hayden McMahon added seven points, seven rebounds, and four assists as well, while Tyler Lowery and Jacob Griffis notched six and four points respectively. Zack Smith and Dakota Lovett also chipped in three points apiece for CHS.
Aided by a 5-of-10 shooting performance in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats shot 40 percent (16-of-40) from the field and knocked down 4-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc. Santa Fe turned the ball over only seven times as well and made 20-of-26 free throws, highlighted by a 10-of-12 effort in the fourth quarter.
Shooting guard Hunter Clanton did the most damage for Santa Fe and poured in a game high 23 points, while Evan Burcham, Justin Potts, and Bert Harris, added nine, eight, and six points respectively.
The Bulldogs quickly made up that ground by putting together a 14-6 run, highlighted by two treys from Lowery and a Lovett three-point play, to seize a 21-20 lead with 3:32 left in the second quarter.
After Clanton hit a three to give Santa Fe a 23-21 advantage, McMahon knocked down three-of-four foul shots over the final 2:11 of the half to stake Cornersville to a 24-23 lead at intermission.
The Wildcats then seized control of the game after the break and opened the second half with a 17-5 run to grab a 40-29 advantage with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter.
CHS tried to make a late charge and outscored Santa Fe 12-6 over the next 2:51 with the help of eight points from Tate Lowery to whittle the deficit to 46-41.
The Wildcats, though, held the Bulldogs scoreless on their next four possessions while making 8-of-10 free throws to push their lead to 54-41 with :38 left before eventually taking home the 56-43 win.