Cornersville rips Hampshire
Having already beaten Santa Fe and Moore County earlier in the week, the Cornersville Bulldogs continued their late season surge on Friday when they thrashed District foe Hampshire 59-38 on Senior Night to record their fourth straight win over the Hawks.
After defeating Hampshire 87-81 in overtime in their previous encounter on Jan. 13, the Bulldogs (8-15, 5-7 District) would need no late game heroics on Friday, as they forged a 28-16 lead in the first half before opening up a 28-point cushion late in the fourth quarter en route to registering their third straight win.
Belief in teammates
"We're peaking at the right time and we're starting to believe in each other," said CHS senior guard Tyler Lowery. "Beating Santa Fe gave us a lot of confidence because we hadn't defeated them in a long time."
Thanks to Friday's triumph, the Bulldogs finished in a tie for fourth in the District 11-A standings with Santa Fe after the Wildcats lost 63-59 to Mt. Pleasant that same evening.
"This was a huge win. The guys just had that look in their eyes and wanted to play well. We got off to a good start and didn't have to play catch up" said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "They're just getting more comfortable playing with each other and it's fun watching them play right now."
Aided by a 9-of-12 shooting performance in the first quarter, Cornersville shot 46 percent (25-of-54) from the field overall despite hitting only 2-of-14 attempts from three-point range. The Bulldogs also committed just nine turnovers, outrebounded Hampshire 30-21, and held a 13-5 edge on the offensive boards.
Tyler Lowery led CHS with 13 points, while Tate Lowery added 11 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Brian Lowe and Jacob Reeves tallied nine points apiece as well and Zack Smith notched six points. Jamie Crowell, Hunter Swinney, and Ben Taylor rounded out the scoring for Cornersville with five, four, and two points respectively.
The Hawks, conversely, committed 15 turnovers and mustered only 13 field goals on 33 percent shooting, which included a 2-of-20 effort from beyond the arc.
Hayden Lightfoot reached the 1,000 point career scoring mark and paced Hampshire with 18 points, while Fabian Bojorquez, Marshall Wray, and Seth Grimmitt chipped in four points each.
The Bulldogs took charge early and raced out to a 17-4 lead late in the first quarter with the help of five points apiece from Jacob Reeves, Tyler Lowery, and Tate Lowery.
Hampshire (9-13, 3-9 District) tallied four of the next six points to trim the deficit to 19-6 with :52 left in the first period before Cornersville countered with a 9-2 spurt behind four points from Smith and a Lowe three-point play to open up a 28-10 advantage midway through the second quarter.
The Hawks notched the final six points of the half to narrow the gap to 28-16 at the break, but CHS outscored Hampshire 9-3 through the first seven minutes of the third period with the help of four points from Tyler Lowery and a pair of baskets from Tate Lowery and Lowe to stretch their lead to 37-19.
After Lightfoot canned a three to cut the deficit to 40-22, the Bulldogs scored the final four points of the third quarter on a Reeves layup and two free throws from Tyler Lowery to forge a 41-22 advantage.
The Hawks closed the gap to 41-24 early in the fourth on a layup by Lightfoot, but Cornersville put together a 16-5 run on the strength of four points apiece from Lowe, Tate Lowery, and Swinney to extend their lead to 57-29 with 2:00 left before coasting to the 59-38 win.