Bulldogs come up on wrong end
The Cornersville Bulldogs traveled to Columbia Thursday night for a mid-season, non-district showdown between two programs heading in different directions in the 2015-16 season.
The Zion Eagles (7-5) are in the midst of a three-game winning streak that started with a 26-point win over the Bulldogs (0-10) two weeks earlier and continued with an 80-47 victory over Cornersville on Thursday night, leaving the Bulldogs still looking for that elusive first win of the year.
"We couldn't stop them from making a run," Cornersville coach Jeff Morton said. "They made two big runs that extended leads. We don't have the shooting power to get back in these games."
The Bulldogs were burned by eighth-grader Briggs Rutter, who led all scorers with 23 points, including three 3-pointers.
Senior post Jarett DeLozier added 20 points and Josh Gleaves tallied 13 points as the three Eagles combined to outscore the entire Bulldogs squad 56-47.
"We've been practicing on pressing all week so we probably could have done that a lot better," said freshman Cam Whitaker, who finished with 13 points and two assists. "We should have boxed out better too."
"We've playing around in practice too much," Whitaker added. "We need to get our heads focused in practice and practice better. We need to do a better job of getting ready for the team we're facing."
Cody Caneer led the Bulldogs in scoring with 14 points for the fourth game in a row since losing his starting job for a game against Mount Pleasant.
Caneer had his two game, double-double streak snapped after pulling down just six rebounds.
"We could have played a whole lot better tonight," Caneer said. "We weren't moving well in transition like we were supposed to and turnovers killed us. We can play up to our competition better than we did tonight."
The Bulldogs started the contest sluggish getting down 14-6 early after a Rutter 3-pointer, but Caneer scored six points in the last three minutes of the first period to cap off a 10-2 Bulldog run as the first quarter ended in a 16-16 tie after coach Morton called a timeout to calm his players down.
"I told them to just keep chipping away," Morton said. "I said let's get back into this game, make some shots, and get some rebounds."
Whatever inspiration the Bulldogs gained from Morton during the timeout vanished quickly in the second quarter when the Eagles went on a 16-4 run as DeLozier scored seven of his 16 first half points in the period and Cornersville managed a meager six points in the frame to limp into halftime down 36-22.
The Cornersville Bulldogs started the third quarter with a 7-2 run after a Caneer triple cut the lead to nine just a minute into the frame and a Michael Allen old-fashioned three-point play brought Cornersville within eight with 4:45 left in the quarter, but the Bulldogs would get no closer as Rutter exploded for 10 third quarter points.
The Eagles had six different players score in the fourth quarter and the manageable 14-point lead heading into the final frame stretched to 33 points and the Bulldogs will look to rival Richland on Friday for its first win of the year.
"Richland being the good team that they are and always have been, we're going to have to play better defense," Caneer said. "They can shoot the ball and they will run all over us if we don't do anything right."
Austin Ridinger came off the bench while recovering from a sprained ankle versus Frank Hughes to lead the Bulldogs with nine rebounds and six points and Michael Allen scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, and dealt three assists.
The Bulldogs committed 29 turnovers against just 16 Zion mistakes.
Cornersville 16 6 18 7-47
Zion Christian 16 20 20 24-80
Cornersville (47): Michael Allen 5, Eli Woodard 2, Cam Whitaker 13, Cody Caneer 14, Austin Ridinger 6, Brock Powers 4, Will Vanhooser 2, Henlee Mitchell 1.
Zion Christian (80): Ryan Green 3, Josh Gleaves 13, Jackson South 2, Jarrett DeLozier 20, Jacob Holmes 5, Briggs Rutter 21, Luke Lowerly 11, Sam Boyd 2, Zach Brenner 3.
Three-point goals: Zion Christian (5)- Rutter 3, Holmes, Gleaves. Cornersville (2)- Whitaker, Caneer.