Bulldogs falter late against Warriors

Friday, January 8, 2016
Cameron Whitaker shoots a runner in the second quarter against Culleoka. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Victory eluded the Cornersville Bulldogs (0-10, 0-5) once again, as they suffered a 50-40-road loss to the Culleoka Warriors (4-8, 2-3) on Tuesday night.

The young Bulldogs appeared they might break through for their first win of the season after grabbing a 27-24 lead late in the third quarter. Cornersville, however, was unable to hold off Culleoka during crunch time, as the Warriors outscored the Bulldogs 26-13 over the final 9:25 to escape with the 10-point victory.

Late chang

"We tried to slow it down and play man-to-man defense so we could control the tempo. We did a good job of that until the fourth quarter," Cornersville coach Jeff Morton said. "I think once we get one we might win a couple in a row. We just have to get that first one."

Despite holding 13-8 edge on the offensive glass and committing five fewer turnovers (22-17) than Culleoka, the Bulldogs were unable to take advantage of those extra scoring opportunities and shot just 30 percent (17-of-57) from the field overall, which included a 1-of-20 effort from 3-point range.

Senior forward Cody Caneer recorded a double-double and led the Bulldogs with 16 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds. Point guard Michael Allen also tallied nine points for Cornersville, while Cameron Whitaker and Austin Ridinger both chipped in five points.

Where it counts

Although Culleoka finished with only 15 field goals on 37 percent shooting, the Warriors knocked down 6-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc and outscored Cornersville 14-5 at the foul line.

Craig Parks hit 6-of-12 shots and paced Culleoka with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots. Chase Thrasher and Steven Bennett tallied eight points apiece for the Warriors as well.

The Bulldogs inched out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of jumpers from Caneer before the Warriors rattled off seven straight points to pull ahead 7-4 late in the first quarter.

Cornersville's Cody Caneer scores on a layup in the first quarter against Culleoka after making a steal.

After Caneer and Eli Woodard scored on consecutive layups to give Cornersville an 8-7 advantage early in the second period, Culleoka tallied the next five points to grab a 12-8 lead midway through the stanza.

Bulldog lead

The Bulldogs outscored the Warriors 6-3 over the final four minutes of the first half with the help of baskets from Whitaker, Woodard, and Caneer to narrow the gap to 15-14 at the break before opening the third quarter with a 9-5 spurt behind six points from Caneer and a Whitaker trey to seize a 23-20 advantage.

Culleoka notched four straight points to claim a 24-23 lead, but Ridinger made two free throws before Allen hit a pull up jumper to stake Cornersville to a 27-24 advantage.

The Warriors ended the third period with a flourish and scored the last 10 points of the stanza to take a 34-28 lead into the final quarter.

Change of pace

The Bulldogs outscored Culleoka 8-4 over the first five minutes of the fourth period behind six points from Allen to slice the deficit to 38-36, but Allen fouled out a few moments later after strangely being assessed a technical while talking to Morton during a break in the action.

"He was just telling me that he wanted to stay in after he picked up his fourth foul because there were only a couple of minutes left in the game. I think that may have affected the outcome of the game because he's our quarterback," said Morton.

Allen's departure appeared to take the wind out of Cornersville's sails, as the Warriors outscored the Bulldogs 12-4 over the final 2:49 with the aid of nine free throws and a Parks three to seal their 50-40 win.

Cornersville: 6 8 14 12-40

Culleoka: 7 8 19 16-50

Cornersville: Cody Caneer 16, Michael Allen 9, Cameron Whitaker 5, Austin Ridinger 5, Eli Woodard 4, J.D. Crabtree 1.

Culleoka: Craig Parks 18, Chase Thrasher 8, Steven Bennett 8, Peyton Kennedy 5, Matthew Gilliam 4, Chaffin Thrasher 4, Dylan Hubbell 3.

Three-point goals: Cornersville (1): Whitaker; Culleoka (6): Parks 3, Kennedy, Hubbel, Bennett.

Halftime score: Culleoka 15, Cornersville 14.