Bulldogs fight, fall to Santa Fe

Friday, January 22, 2016
Austin Ridinger goes up for a basket in the Bulldogs' 59-38 loss versus the Wildcats. Photos by George "Pap" Warren

The Cornersville boy's squad came off its first win of the year on Friday night, looking to make the Santa Fe Wildcats (7-10, 5-4) win number two of the year and gain some much needed momentum down the stretch towards the District 11-A Tournament.

The Bulldogs were held to its second lowest scoring total in nine games in a 59-38 loss on Tuesday, but Cornersville was within striking the entire game heading into the fourth quarter, proving that the win against Hampshire was just what the young squad needed to gain some confidence.

'Patient...better'

"We didn't have any energy tonight, we played kind of slow," Cornersville coach Jeff Morton said. "But we were a little more patient on offense, played better on defense, and we went to a zone instead of man defense and that helped us out."

The Bulldogs looked much improved on Tuesday night, and while a 21-point loss isn't the ideal outcome, consider that Cornersville was beat at Santa Fe by 35 points the first time the two squads met and were never in that game after the first four minutes.

"That game (first meeting) was our second district game. I think we are more confident now since that win against Hampshire last week," freshman guard Eli Woodard, who led the Bulldogs in scoring for the second straight game, said. "I think we did alright because they scored 70 and we scored like 30 the last time. In the first half we were down 10 points and in the second half we were down just 11 points and they really outmatch us."

Double figures

Woodard scored 11 points for the second straight game, including nine third quarter points to pull the Bulldogs to within eight at 29-21 after a layup to start the second half.

Senior Cody Caneer scored 10 points for the home team with two 3-pointers in the first half to keep the game close.

"A better effort would have helped," Caneer said. "I feel like our shots are falling a little bit better than they usually do. But an all-around effort we didn't have."

Austin Ridinger also scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

Strong start

Caneer scored five off his 10 points in the opening frame including a 3-pointer as the clock wound down in the first quarter to keep the contest close at 13-9.

Jared Atkinson scored eight of his 14 points in the second quarter for the Wildcats and Santa Fe threatened to run away with the game pushing the lead to 16 but Caneer stroked another three and Ridinger added five points to keep the lead down to 10 at the half 29-19.

Woodard started the second half off with a layup, but the Wildcats scored five in a row to push the lead to 13 just seconds later. Woodard knocked down a triple to draw the Bulldogs back to within 10, but three Wyatt Long 3-pointers increased the Wildcats' lead to 15 points with a minute left in the period.

The Bulldogs would pull back to within 13 with a Woodard layup, but Cornersville could not cut the deficit any lower and the Wildcats escaped southern Marshall County with the 21-point victory.

Cameron Whittaker had two points versus Santa Fe Tuesday night.

Fewer turnovers

The Bulldogs took care of the ball for the second game in a row with just 15 turnovers and the Wildcats committed just 10.

Cornersville will need to be more aggressive in the remaining district games as the Bulldogs only managed to get to the foul line four times.

"We need to work on our fundamentals," Woodard observed. "We're pretty fast and have athletic ability, but we've got to get better with our fundamentals by slowing it down and making good passes. That's just common sense, making good passes. And that team we just played made great passes which led to easy scores."

The Bulldogs will look to get back on track tonight at Columbia Academy (14-4, 8-1) at 7:30 p.m.

Cornersville 9 10 13 6 38

Santa Fe 13 16 21 9 59

Cornersville (38): Michael Allen 2, Eli Woodard 11, Cam Whitaker 2, Cody Caneer 10, Austin Ridinger 7, Brock Powers 2, Will Vanhooser 2, Devin Baus 2.

Santa Fe (59): Jared Atkinson 14, Wyatt Long 20, Miquel Britto 4, Justin Himes 7, Ryan Rojas 9, Kahil Graves 2, Quinton Hemphill 3.

Three-point goals: Cornersville (3) - Caneer 2, Woodard. Santa Fe (4) - Long 3, Hemphill.

Halftime score-Santa Fe 29, Cornersville 19.