Bulldogs improve as district battles approach

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Devin Bauw grabs a rebound versus Frank Hughes at the Richland Christmas Tournament. Photos by Laura Osborne

The Cornersville fans that have stuck with the boy's team throughout the winless early season might have noticed a change lately in the team's effort and ability to stay with its opponents beyond the first half of the games.

After losing a close game to Zion Christian Academy and playing Community neck and neck deep into the second half on Monday at the Richland Christmas Tournament it took the Clifton Lions (6-5) full effort to put away the Bulldogs 74-63 late in the game.

Taking care of it

"I just think we took care of the basketball tonight," Cornersville coach Jeff Morton said. "Austin (Ridinger) going down in the second half really hurt us. We've got nine games in January, so we needed this confidence boost. We should recover and have a good January."

Cody Caneer was unconscious from the field, scoring a season high 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the senior's second straight double-double in the Richland Christmas Tournament.

"We were making our shots tonight," Caneer said. "Shots were a big deal in this. And on top of that we were rebounding really good and handing the ball perfect. We had two-to-three turnovers in a row and I think that's what eventually hurt us. But just all around great ball handling and shooting."

Ridinger chipped in nine points, four rebounds, and two assists before being lost for the game midway through the third quarter to an ankle injury. The freshman duo of Cam Whitaker and Eli Woodard combined for 14 points, six rebounds and five assists to round out the Bulldogs scoring leaders.

Good early

"We played really good defense tonight and at the beginning when they were pressing us we were able to break through it and were able to hit the easy shots that we needed to," junior point guard Michael Allen, who added five points, six rebounds, and three assists said. "We just couldn't pull it together at the end to come out with the victory."

Cornersville (0-9) found itself down just four points at the end of the first quarter after R.O. Alexander hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Clifton to make the score 20-16.

Alexander would hit a layup and a free throw to push the Clifton lead to 24-18 but a Ridinger pass down low for a Caneer lay-in cut the lead to 26-22.

Eli Woodward dribbles into the lane for two of his seven points in the game.

Whitaker snagged an offensive rebound and scored to cut the lead to four points in the third quarter, but Frank Hughes would push the lead to eight at the end of the period.

Clifton stays ahead

Two Allen free throws cut the Lions' led to six points and the Bulldogs had a chance to cut the lead to three, but Caneer missed a 3-pointer then Woodard missed the put-back and Riley Brashier scored three the old-fashioned-way and Alexander nailed a 3-pointer to finally put away a pesky Bulldog squad 74-63.

"This will defiantly build some confidence for us," Allen said. "We played really well in both games this tournament. I believe that going into district now we'll be able to have a little bit more confidence and hopefully get a couple more victories."

Cornersville 16 15 12 20-63

Frank Hughes 20 15 14 25-74

Cornersville (63): Michael Allen 5, Eli Woodard 7, Austin Ridinger 9, Cody Caneer 29, Cam Whitaker 7, J.D. Crabtree 2, Brock Powers 4.

Frank Hughes (74): Riley Brashier 25, R.O. Alexander 26, Clarke Brashier 12, Dylan Berry 2, Brad Billman 2, Malik Ross 7.

Three pointers: Cornersville (2)-Caneer 2. Frank Hughes (5) - R. Brashier, Alexander 2, C. Brashier 2.