Raiders hold off fiesty Bulldogs
On Friday night, the Cornersville Bulldogs gave Richland a run for their money for the first three quarters, but were unable to come away with the win, as CHS dropped a 45-34 decision to the Raiders in Lynnville.
Having lost to Richland 63-34 in their previous meeting on Dec. 11, the Bulldogs (3-15, 2-5 District) only trailed 17-13 at halftime of Friday's contest before rallying to tie the game at 24-24 late in the third quarter.
The Raiders (15-5, 6-2 District), however, found another gear down the stretch and outscored Cornersville 21-10 the rest of the way to claim the 11-point victory.
CHS shot a respectable 43 percent (12-of-28) from the field, but committed 21 turnovers and hit just 10-of-22 free throw attempts.
Although they shot only 33 percent (15-of-45) from the floor, which included a 3-of-17 effort from beyond the arc, Richland turned the ball over only 11 times and knocked down 12-of-16 free throws. The Raiders also outrebounded the Bulldogs 25-22 and held an 8-3 edge on the offensive glass.
"I thought we played good defense and controlled the tempo of the game, but we didn't execute like we needed to on offense," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "Free throws hurt us tonight. If we hit those and hit some of the easy layups that we missed, it would have been a different ballgame. You have to convert on those opportunities to beat a team like Richland."
Hayden McMahon led the Bulldogs with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Tate Lowery followed McMahon with seven points, while Alex Walker added six points and three steals. Jamie Crowell chipped in three points for CHS as well.
Cody Jordan recorded a double-double and paced the Raiders with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Bret Boatright also tallied eight points, while Jacob Farrar and Carson Edwards both had seven points. Markus Batchelder and Zach Davis rounded out the scoring for Richland with five and two points respectively.
The Raiders jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, but Cornersville put together an 8-0 run behind six points from McMahon and a Lowery layup to pull ahead 8-6 early in the second quarter.
Richland notched six straight points to grab a 12-8 advantage, before Walker sandwiched two free throws and a short bank shot around a Boatright foul shot to narrow the gap to 13-12 midway through the second period.
The Raiders tallied four of the final five points of the first half to take a 17-13 lead into the break, but the Bulldogs outscored Richland 8-3 over the first 3:15 of the third quarter behind five points from McMahon and a Crowell layup to seize a 21-20 advantage.
After Batchelder hit two free throws and Boatright scored on a layup to give the Raiders a 24-21 lead, Lowery converted a three-point play to knot the game at 24-24 with 2:15 left in the third period.
Richland finally opened up some breathing room by going on a 10-1 run to forge a 34-25 advantage early in the fourth quarter.
Cornersville outscored Richland 7-5 over the next seven minutes with the help of six points from McMahon to trim the deficit to 39-32, but the Bulldogs mustered just two points the rest of the way while the Raiders hit six free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal their 45-34 triumph.