Bulldogs break through for win
The Cornersville Bulldogs have had several opportunities for a win this season, but have come up short on numerous occasions including a 10-point loss to Hampshire to start off district play early in December.
This time around the Bulldogs, led by a senior and a freshman, played smart from start to finish and picked up their first win of the season via with a 40-36 triumph over the Hawks on Homecoming night.
"I think we played with a little more intensity tonight," CHS coach Jeff Morton stated. "It was Homecoming and we wanted to win. We played with a little more effort tonight. I think they have some confidence now and maybe we can get a couple more wins against some teams that may not think we can."
The Bulldogs were led by freshman Eli Woodard, who made sure the Bulldogs stayed one step ahead of the Hawks by scoring all 11 of his points in the second half when the Hawks were making a run.
"Well the game got closer and closer as time went on and I tried to take care of the ball and not throw the ball away," Woodard, who also added four rebounds and three steals said. "We gave it down low and played great defense. Number 21 (Neil Kyle) was their leader the last time we played and we held him to just two points tonight."
Senior Cody Caneer missed a double-double by one point with nine points and 10 rebounds and was glad to finally get that monkey off the team's back and thinks the late season win can give the Bulldogs some confidence heading down the stretch.
"This win will give us a ton of confidence," Caneer said. "Knowing that we're not zero wins and however many losses. At least we got one and I know it's not anything to brag about, but it's a win and that's really gonna pick up our spirit. We should go on to win more games."
The Bulldogs were in control the entire contest, never giving up the lead after jumping out on a Caneer jumper that made the score 7-5 in Cornersville's favor.
In stark contrast the earlier games, the Bulldogs committed a minuscule 12 turnovers and were aided by the Hawks' poor free throw shooting (7-for-26).
Cornersville made 7-of-15 from the free throw line in the game.
"Determination and way less turnovers got us this win," Caneer said. "We only had 12 turnovers tonight. Another thing is, the biggest thing is we wanted it. We wanted it tonight and we came out and that's exactly what we did. We came out to play and we got the 'W' tonight."
A Caneer triple pushed the Cornersville lead to 13-7 with 5:45 left to play in the first half, but the Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 8-2 the rest of the second quarter, tying the game at 15 on a Seth Grimmitt layup and that was the score at the break.
Woodard steps up
Woodard took over in the third period, scoring seven of his team-high 11 points in the frame and giving the Bulldogs a 28-21 lead, heading into the final period.
After a Hampshire push early in the fourth quarter, Woodard came to the rescue once again, scoring on a layup in traffic to push the Bulldog lead to 36-30.
The Hawks would get no closer to the Bulldogs' lead than three points as Cornersville pulled off its first win of the year with the close victory.
Cam Whitaker added five points, six rebounds and three assists and Michael Allen chipped in five points, four rebounds and three steals to help seal the win.
"We all knew this was our seniors' last Homecoming and I don't think they've won it in the past 3-to-4 years," Woodard pointed out. "We all wanted to have the intensity to come out and get this win. We came out here and beat them for the seniors."
Cornersville 10 5 13 12-40
Hampshire 5 10 6 15-36
Cornersville (40): Michael Allen 5, Eli Woodard 11, Cam Whitaker 5, Cody Caneer 9, Austin Ridinger 4, Alexander Stewart 2, Brock Powers 4.
Hampshire (36): Aaron Rochelle 4, Seth Grimmett 14, Marshall Wray 4, Cody Jones 10, Neil Kyle 2, Cain Runion 2.
Three-point goals: Cornersville (3) - Caneer, Woodard, Allen. Hampshire (1) - Wray.