Bulldogs shoot down Hawks as Lowery returns
With senior guard Tate Lowery receiving his first substantial playing time since injuring his left knee four weeks earlier, the Cornersville Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season on Tuesday night when they defeated the Hampshire Hawks 58-45 at home.
The Bulldogs (1-10, 1-5 District) led nearly the entire contest and built a 24-16 advantage in the first half before opening up a 45-30 cushion early in the fourth quarter en route to claiming their fifth straight victory over Hampshire (1-14, 1-5 District).
"It feels great to get a win. I'm super proud of the boys and am ecstatic for them," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "I'm hoping we can build some momentum from this and get another win on Thursday."
The Bulldogs shot only 34 percent (21-of-61) from the field overall and made just 2-of-17 three-point attempts, but committed only 12 turnovers and outscored the Hawks 14-6 at the foul line.
Lowery came off the bench for Cornersville and had a big impact on their fortunes, as he poured in a game high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with five rebounds.
"The guys' confidence increased when he was out there and he made things happen. I was surprised how well he played. I wanted to just play him the last two or three minutes of each quarter, but he told me he was feeling good and wanted to keep playing."
Cody Caneer followed Lowery with nine points, while Jamie Crowell and David Looney tallied six points apiece. Hunter Swinney also added five points, and Michael Allen and Kolbe McMahon both notched four points. Zack Smith chipped in two points for CHS as well.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, limited Hampshire to only 18 field goals on 37 percent shooting, which included a 3-of-12 effort from beyond the arc. The Hawks did outrebound Cornersville 41-30, but the Bulldogs held a 15-12 edge on the offensive glass and forced 20 Hampshire turnovers.
Seth Grimmitt and Marshall Wray led the Hawks with 11 points apiece, while Dustin Pinkelton notched eight points. Cody Jones, Cain Runions, and Neil Kyle rounded out the scoring for Hampshire with six, five, and four points respectively.
The Hawks inched out to a 7-5 lead midway through the first quarter before Lowery scored the final seven points of the stanza on a trey, an offensive put back, and a short jumper to stake Cornersville to a 12-7 advantage.
Ahead for good
Hampshire tallied the first five points of the second period to tie the game at 12-12, but the Bulldogs closed the half with a 12-4 spurt behind four points apiece from Caneer and Lowery to take a 24-16 lead into the break.
After CHS stretched their lead to 26-16 at the start of the second half on a layup by Crowell, the Hawks outscored Cornersville 13-8 over the next seven minutes to whittle the deficit to 34-29 late in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs quickly counterpunched and went on an 11-1 run thanks to a McMahon three-point play and baskets from Smith, Lowery, Caneer, and Swinney to forge a 45-30 advantage with 6:55 left in the fourth period.
Hampshire outscored CHS 12-5 over the next 5:44 to narrow the gap to 50-42, but Cornersville tallied eight of the final 11 points of the game with the help of six free throws and a short bank shot from Lowery to seal their 58-45 triumph.