Richland rallies past Bulldogs
It was a bittersweet night for Cornersville senior guard Tate Lowery. Although he broke the 1,000-point career scoring mark on Tuesday, Lowery suffered what appeared to be a severe knee injury late in the third quarter of the Bulldogs' 58-50 home loss to the Richland Raiders.
After taking a 25-23 lead into halftime, Cornersville (0-5, 0-2 District) held a 36-35 advantage late in the third quarter before Lowery was forced to leave the game with :44 left in the stanza.
The Bulldogs were unable to hold off Richland (6-4, 2-1 District) without Lowery in the lineup, as the Raiders outscored CHS 23-14 the rest of the way to take home the eight-point win.
"I'm very proud of our effort. We didn't give up when Tate went down and kept fighting," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "Richland beat us pretty bad both times we played last year, but I think they knew they were in a for a ballgame tonight."
Hindered by a 2-of-13 effort from three-point range, the Bulldogs shot only 35 percent (20-of-57) from the field. Cornersville did commit four fewer turnovers (20-16) than Richland and held a 10-6 edge on the offensive glass, but the Raiders outrebounded CHS 29-23 overall.
Lowery was in the midst of a stellar performance before his injury, as he poured in a team high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go along with four steals and three rebounds. With Tuesday's effort, Lowery now has 1,014 points in his CHS career.
"Tate is a very important player for us. When you have a guy like that go down, it hurts. There is no I in team, but he's a big part of what we do. We just need some other guys to step up and improve as the season goes along," said Randolph.
Michael Allen followed Lowery with seven points, while Hunter Swinney, Cody Caneer, and Kolbe McMahon tallied six points apiece. David Looney chipped in five points for CHS as well.
The Raiders hit just 1-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc, but shot 46 percent (18-of-39) from the floor overall and made 21-of-37 free throws. Cornersville, conversely, attempted only nine free throws, hitting eight.
Carter Schmidt paced three Raider players in double figures with 21 points, while Dillon Gavin and Hayden Morris both notched 13 points.
Richland built a 13-6 lead in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs began the second period with an 8-2 run thanks to four points from Caneer and a pair of baskets from Allen and Lowery to whittle the deficit to 15-14.
The Raiders tallied the next four points to open up a 19-14 advantage, before Cornersville outscored Richland 11-0 over the next four minutes behind nine points from Lowery to grab a 25-19 lead late in the half.
After Schmidt scored the final four points of the half on a free throw and a trey to narrow the gap to 25-23, the Raiders notched four of the first six points in the third quarter to tie the game at 27-27, but the Bulldogs responded with a 7-2 spurt, highlighted by a Lowery three-point play, to seize a 34-29 advantage midway through the stanza.
The Raiders then rattled off six straight points to take a 35-34 lead, before McMahon scored on an offensive put back to give CHS a 36-35 advantage while Lowery was injured during the play.
The momentum quickly shifted to Richland's bench after that point, as the Raiders engineered a 16-5 run to pull ahead 51-41 late in the fourth quarter.
Cornersville closed the gap to 54-48 with :34 left on the strength of two McMahon layups and an Allen three-point play, but Gavin and Schmidt each hit two free throws on the Raiders' next two possessions to help Richland wrap up their 58-50 win.