Lady Bulldogs rally past Columbia Academy
After winning the District 11-A tournament title last season, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs took the first step towards defending their crown on Friday when they defeated an improved Columbia Academy squad 48-44 at home in their conference opener.
Cornersville (2-5, 1-0 District) had won all 23 meetings against Columbia Academy (1-5, 0-2 District) since 2004, but that streak appeared to be in jeopardy after CA built a 34-25 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs, however, showed their resolve down the stretch and outscored Columbia Academy 23-10 the rest of the way to escape with the four-point victory.
"I have to admit I was scared after we fell down by nine in the third quarter, but when I called timeout the girls were confident they could come back when they came to the bench," said Cornersville coach Peyton Newton. " I should have realized that about this group. They're young, but they're not afraid of anything. Playing that tough early season schedule helped us tonight."
With CA's 6'5" center Leslie Golden clogging up the paint, the Lady Bulldogs finished with only 15 field goals on 32 percent shooting and made only 3-of-16 three-point attempts, but outscored Columbia Academy 15-3 at the foul line. Cornersville also committed a season low nine turnovers, recorded 12 assists as a team, and outrebounded CA 36-34 overall.
"Anytime you have to deal with a 6'5" center it's tough, but we played as a team and shared the ball," said Newton.
Freshman center Morgan Terry led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points and eight rebounds. Carson Coble followed Terry with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Madison Hopkins and Emma Mitchell both tallied eight points with Hopkins registering eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Taylor Powers chipped in five points for Cornersville as well and Breanne Dunkleman had two points.
Columbia Academy, meanwhile, committed 15 turnovers and shot only 30 percent (18-of-60) from the field, which included a 5-of-20 effort from beyond the arc.
Point guard Kenzie Hobbs canned five threes and paced CA with 18 points. Golden also notched 12 points for Columbia Academy while Sabrina Gilliam added eight points.
Chasing the lead
CA jumped out to an early 14-6 lead before the Lady Bulldogs rattled off six straight points thanks to a pair of Mitchell jumpers and a basket by Terry to slice the deficit to 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Columbia Academy stretched their lead to 16-12 on a basket by Laney Truitt, but CHS went on a 6-0 run with the help of four points from Terry and a Coble layup to pull ahead 18-16 early in the second quarter.
After tallying eight of the final 10 points in the first half to take a 24-20 lead into the break, CA outscored Cornersville 10-5 through the first 4:42 of the third quarter to open up a 34-25 advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs then came roaring back and put together an 14-0 run on the strength of five points from Coble, a Powers trey, a three-point play by Hopkins, and three free throws to seize a 39-34 lead with 5:02 left in the fourth period.
Columbia Academy narrowed the gap to 40-38 on layups by Golden and Gilliam, but Hopkins drilled a three from the right wing and Dunkleman made one-of-two free throws to give Cornersville a 44-38 decision with 1:16 remaining.
After Golden and Gilliam sandwiched a couple of baskets around a Powers free throw to cut the deficit to 45-42, Hopkins and Coble combined to hit three-of-four foul shots to stretch the Lady Bulldogs lead 48-42 with :17 left before Cornersville claimed the 48-44 victory.