Bulldogs hold off Culleoka, tie for fourth in 11-A
The Cornersville Bulldogs picked up an important District 11-A win on Tuesday night when they defeated Culleoka 48-42 at home to complete the season sweep of the Warriors.
Culleoka (6-14, 2-7 District) was coming off a stunning upset victory over three-time District tournament champ Mt. Pleasant four days earlier, but were unable to carry that momentum into Tuesday's contest, as Cornersville built an 18-8 lead in the first half.
The Warriors then rallied to tie the game at 26-26 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs (4-15, 3-5 District) showed their resolve down the stretch and outscored Culleoka 22-16 the rest of the way with the help of some clutch foul shooting by point guard Tate Lowery to pull out the six-point win.
With Tuesday's triumph, Cornersville moved into a tie for fourth place in the District standings with Santa Fe.
"I told the guys that from here on out we have to play every District game like it's our last game. Every win we get in the District helps our seeding in the tournament," said Bulldogs coach Gerard Randolph. "At halftime I told them that Culleoka would make a run in the second half, but we would just have to punch back. I was very pleased with the way that we responded in the fourth quarter."
Although the Warriors committed only 13 turnovers, the Bulldogs limited Culleoka to a modest 15 field goals on 32 percent shooting, which included a 4-of-18 effort from three-point range.
The Warriors did hold a 10-5 edge on the offensive glass, but Cornersville outrebounded Culleoka 26-25 overall.
Despite hitting only 2-of-10 attempts behind the arc and committing 17 turnovers, the Bulldogs shot a respectable 42 percent (13-of-31) from the field while knocking down 20-of-31 free throws, highlighted by a 7-of-8 effort in the fourth quarter by Tate Lowery.
The Warriors, conversely, struggled at the charity stripe and hit just 8-of-18 foul shots overall.
Tate Lowery led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Hayden McMahon tallied 12 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and three blocked shots. Jamie Crowell added nine points as well, and Tyler Lowery notched four points. Jacob Griffis and Zack Smith also chipped in three points apiece for Cornersville with Griffis grabbing nine rebounds, while Alex Walker had two points.
Sam Davis paced Culleoka with 15 points and Julius Armstrong followed with seven points. Ty Daly added six points for the Warriors as well, while Devante Rogers and Tim Creps both had four points.
Culleoka inched out to a 4-3 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Bulldogs put together a 12-1 run behind four points from Crowell, three points from McMahon, and a Smith trey to open up a 15-5 advantage with 3:12 left in the second period.
The Warriors trimmed the deficit to 15-8 on layup by Creps and a Tyler Blake free throw, before Cornersville tallied the final three points of the half on three foul shots to take a 18-8 lead into the break.
After Armstrong scored consecutive baskets at the start of the third quarter to narrow the gap to 18-12, the Bulldogs opened up a 21-12 advantage thanks to a Griffis free throw and a layup by McMahon.
Culleoka outscored Cornersville 13-5 over the next six minutes to knot the game at 26-26 early in the fourth period, but the Bulldogs responded with a 9-4 spurt, highlighted by a Crowell three, to grab a 35-30 lead with 4:10 left.
The Warriors tallied four of the next five points to narrow the gap to 36-34 with 3:00, before Cornersville outscored the Warriors 9-2 over the next 2:10 on the strength of seven points from Tate Lowery to forge a 45-36 advantage en route to taking home the 48-42 win.