Loretto blitzes Lady Bulldogs
The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (17-12) were knocked out of the Region 6-A tournament by Loretto for a fourth straight year when they lost 45-19 to the Lady Mustangs (19-11) at home on Friday night in the first round.
Coming off an inspired 47-33 victory over Richland four days earlier in the District 11-A title game, the Lady Bulldogs were unable to carry that momentum into Friday's contest, as Loretto forged a 26-9 lead in the first half before outscoring CHS 19-10 over the final two quarters to coast to their sixth straight win over Cornersville.
The Lady Bulldogs had shot over 50 percent from the field in each of their last two games, but saw their offense muzzled by the Lady Mustangs and mustered just six baskets on 19 percent shooting, which included a 3-of-11 effort from three-point range, while committing 17 turnovers.
"We had been loose and confident all week, but today was the first time we looked nervous," said Cornersville coach Peyton Newton. "We had no confidence in ourselves. Nobody wanted to take the ball to the basket and we took a lot of fade away jumpers."
Senior guard Brooke Holt led CHS with 10 points and four rebounds, while Carson Coble added five points. Madison Hopkins and Breanne Dunkleman chipped in two points apiece for the Lady Bulldogs as well.
"Brooke has been huge this year. She was our main scorer, but was also one of our better rebounders and defenders," said Newton. "She took a big leadership role this year and I couldn't have asked for a better senior leader. She made my first year here a lot easier."
Bolstered by a 7-of-12 shooting performance in the first quarter, Loretto shot 42 percent (14-of-33) from the field overall and knocked down 3-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc while outscoring Cornersville 14-4 at the foul line. The Lady Mustangs also committed just 12 turnovers and outrebounded CHS 24-15.
"We thought that we could use the zone that we ran against Richland and Santa Fe in the District tournament. It had been effective in our last two games, but we ran up against a hot team tonight and they knocked down shots," said Newton.
Ashley Johns paced Loretto with 17 points, while Cayla Santiago and Sabrie Sirmones tallied 12 and seven points respectively.
Fast Lady Mustangs
The Lady Mustangs took the wind out of Cornersville's sails early, as they built a 20-0 lead in the first quarter behind 11 points from Johns and four points from Sirmones.
Cornersville notched six of the first eight points of the second period thanks to four free throws from Holt and a Hopkins layup to trim the deficit to 22-6 before Johns hit a layup and a jumper to give Loretto a 26-6 advantage with 2:58 left in the stanza.
After Coble buried a trey to narrow the gap to 26-9 at the break, the Lady Mustangs delivered the knockout blow by opening the second half with a 16-0 run to push their lead to 42-9 early in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs then outscored Loretto 10-3 the rest of the way on the strength of two threes from Holt and a pair of baskets from Dunkleman and Coble for the 45-19 final.