Bulldogs fall to Wildcats

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Cornersville's (3) David Looney scores on a layup in the second quarter against Santa Fe. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Santa Fe Wildcats (7-8, 4-1 District) notched their second straight victory over Cornersville (0-10, 0-5 District) when they defeated the Bulldogs 59-46 at CHS on Saturday afternoon.

Aided by a strong second quarter performance, Santa Fe held a 28-18 lead at the end of the first half before opening up a 52-30 advantage early in the fourth period en route to claiming their seventh win of the season.

Height's effect

With the Wildcats possessing a noticeable height advantage along the frontcourt, the Bulldogs shot only 35 percent (17-of-49) from the field overall and hit just 3-of-17 three-point attempts, while committing 17 turnovers.

"Their height hurt us a lot. Number 34 (Austin Winchester) changed a lot of our shots and was a big presence down low," said CHS coach Gerard Randolph. "I think we made too many mental errors too. They pressed us, but it wasn't anything that we hadn't worked on."

Cornersville's (5) Zack Smith fires up a three-pointer in the second quarter against Santa Fe.

Senior forward David Looney led Cornersville with a season high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Justin Black followed Looney with eight points and Kolbe McMahon tallied six points. Zack Smith notched four points as well, while Michael Allen and Cody Caneer each added three points. Jamie Crowell, Austin Ridinger, and Dillard Hatchett also chipped in two points apiece for the Bulldogs, and Tate Lowery had one point.

Despite hitting just 4-of-18 shots in the fourth quarter, Santa Fe finished with 21 field goals on 37 percent shooting while knocking down 3-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc and outscoring Cornersville 14-9 at the foul line. The Wildcats did commit 19 turnovers, but offset that by outrebounding the Bulldogs 43-29, which included a 17-11 edge on the offensive glass.

One-two punch

Wyatt Long and Tristan Kelly formed a formidable one-two punch for Santa Fe, as Long poured in a game high 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Kelly tallied 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Winchester and Tyler Parham notched six points apiece for the Wildcats as well with Winchester blocking four shots.

The Bulldogs got off to a solid start and inched out to a 12-10 lead late in the first quarter on the strength of four points from Black and a Looney trey.

Santa Fe began to take control of the contest after that point and put together a 12-1 run to grab a 22-13 advantage midway through the second period.

Following a layup by Looney, which trimmed the deficit to 22-15, the Wildcats tallied six of the next seven points to open up a 28-16 advantage late in the first half.

McMahon scored on a layup in the waning moments of the half to narrow the gap to 28-18 at the break before Long knocked down a jumper and a three early in the third quarter to stretch Santa Fe's lead to 33-18.

Fighting back

The Bulldogs notched the next five points on a free throw and a pair of layups by Crowell and McMahon to whittle the deficit to 33-23, but the Wildcats responded with a 10-2 spurt to forge a 43-25 advantage.

After Cornersville closed the gap to 43-29 late in the third quarter on a Allen jumper and a layup by Smith, Santa Fe went on a 9-3 run to push their lead to 52-30 early in the fourth period.

The Bulldogs then outscored the Wildcats 16-7 the rest of the way with the help of eight points from Looney and four points from Black for the 59-46 final.