Bulldogs subdue Wildcats, get back for earlier loss
The Cornersville Bulldogs kept themselves in the running for a possible home game in the first round of the District 11-A tournament when they defeated fourth place Santa Fe 53-45 on Tuesday night at home to snap an 11-game losing streak against the Wildcats.
Having dropped a gut wrenching 60-59 decision to Santa Fe in their last meeting on Jan. 3, the Bulldogs (6-15, 4-7 District) seemed bent on evening the score against the Wildcats (12-11, 5-6 District) on Tuesday and built a 25-20 lead in the first half before opening up a 40-31 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
Near the top
Cornersville then withstood a fourth quarter rally by Santa Fe to move within one game of the Wildcats in the District standings.
"This win was very sweet. Considering how we lost last time, this was a very satisfying win and I'm going to relish it," said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "I told the guys that we're probably going to see them again in the District tournament so it was good to get a win tonight. It gives us some confidence and lets us know that we can beat them."
Cornersville shot only 34 percent (18-of-53) from the field and knocked down just 3-of-16 three-point attempts, but committed a mere seven turnovers and outscored Santa Fe 14-8 at the foul line.
Tate Lowery turned in a solid all around performance and led the Bulldogs with 20 points, eight rebounds, and four steals. Jamie Crowell also tallied nine points and seven rebounds for CHS, while Brian Lowe, Jacob Reeves, and Tyler Lowery added eight points apiece.
Although they outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-28 and held a 15-13 edge on the offensive glass, Santa Fe committed 18 turnovers and shot only 34 percent (17-of-50) from the floor, which included a 3-of-16 effort from beyond the arc.
Grant Warf paced the Wildcats with 17 points, while Evan Burcham notched nine points. Thomas Hopkins and Trent Maxwell chipped in six and five points respectively for Santa Fe as well.
First quarter lead
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before CHS went on a 9-2 run behind four points from Reeves and three points from Tate Lowery to pull ahead 9-7 with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
After Santa Fe ripped off nine straight points to grab a 16-9 advantage early in the second period, the Bulldogs controlled the rest of the half and outscored the Wildcats 16-4 over the final 7:25 of the stanza with the help of five points from Tate Lowery, four points from Crowell, and a Lowe trey to take a 25-20 lead into the break.
Santa Fe tallied eight of the first 11 points of the third quarter to tie the game at 28-28, before Cornersville countered with a 12-3 run, highlighted by threes from Lowe and Tate Lowery, to open up a 40-31 advantage at the end of the stanza.
The Wildcats sliced the deficit to 40-37 early in the fourth period thanks to a Burcham trey and a three-point play by Warf, but Tyler Lowery personally outscored Santa Fe 6-3 over the next 4:27 by hitting a short bank shot, a turnaround jumper, and a layup to give CHS a 46-40 lead.
"I told the guys that we faced some adversity and our defense allowed us to fight through it. We got some stops and Tyler hit some big shots," said Randolph.
Following two free throws by Warf, which narrowed the gap to 46-42, Tate Lowery converted a three-point play and Reeves made foul shots to stake the Bulldogs to a 51-42 advantage with :33 left before Cornersville claimed the 53-45 victory.