Richland denies Cornersville 2nd seed
Richland versus Cornersville has become one of the bitterest rivalries in Class A girls' basketball in southern Middle Tennessee since the Lynnville school opened its doors in 1982, just 15 minutes down the road from Cornersville.
The game last Thursday night pitted two teams fighting for one of the top seeds in the District 11A tournament just over a week away and the game would come down to a wide open Hannah Helton 3-pointer with just one second left on the clock to give Richland the 42-39 win and deny Cornersville it's chance for the number two seed in the district tournament.
"That was a tough team right there," Cornersville coach Peyton Newton said. "We came in banged up, beat up a little bit. Nights like that when you're down a couple players you have to do everything right, you've got to have everything work. Especially the little things----rebounding, taking care of the ball, not losing the shooters."
The Bulldogs were in control of their own destiny heading into Thursday night's game, with wins against Richland and Grace-Franklin, Cornersville would have locked up the number two seed in the district tournament but a loss would put the whole season in jeopardy.
"You never want to lose any game, every game is important," Morton added. "But lose this one tonight, we have to beat Grace tomorrow night to lock up third place. Lose tomorrow night and we can finish anywhere as low as fifth place. So you've got to go out there and take advantage of opportunities and we didn't do that tonight."
Morgan Terry had a monster game in the paint for the Lady Bulldogs finishing with 17 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking four shots to lead the Bulldogs in the absence of starting point guard Madison Hopkins (concussion) and Gabby King (knee).
Sam Prosser came off the bench for the Bulldogs to have a big night with two triples and four rebounds to go along with two steals.
The Bulldogs jumped out on top quickly, going up 7-2 on a Sam Prosser 3-pointer and 9-4 on a Terry rebound and put-back.
Helton's hot hand
But Helton would get hot for the Lady Raiders, scoring all seven of Richland points in the first quarter to cut the lead to 9-7 at the end of the first period.
The Bulldogs would allow the Raiders to get back in the game on a series of untimely turnovers against a suffocating Richland full-court press and a Helton layup, putting the Lady Raiders up 17-16 at the break.
"We're not too worried about the amount of turnovers," Sam Prosser said. "More like ready for Madison to come back and we had a couple of our wings out too. We're hurting not having them, but we're getting by."
Lexy Edwards and Ali Dickey each knocked down 3's to end the third quarter to put the Raiders up 37-27, heading into the fourth quarter.
Intent on winning
Terry refused to let the Bulldogs lose, scoring four straight points and a Brooke Defoe layup brought Cornersville within three points with two minutes remaining.
With 27 seconds left in the game, Defoe would drill an open 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 39-39.
"I just saw I was open and I knew that I had to get it up there," DeFoe said. "I didn't even realize I tied it up until I looked at the scoreboard."
The game looked to be heading into overtime as Richland played sloppy offense and seemingly committed several turnovers, but a no call culminated in a wide-open Helton 3-pointer with one second left as the Raiders upset the Bulldogs in a close contest.
Not enough talk
"We could have talked better on our screening and switching because we didn't do that well at all," Defoe continued. "We didn't talk or communicate very well tonight."
The Bulldogs shot a miserable 5-13 from the free throw line and committed 29 turnovers to aid in Richland's surprise upset.
Cornersville 9 7 11 12 39
Richland 7 10 20 5 42
Cornersville (39): Taylor Powers 2, Carson Coble 5, Emma Mitchell 2, Sam Prosser 6, Morgan Terry 17, Brooke Defoe 5, Hope Taylor 2.
Richland (42): Aubrey Briggs 2, Callyn Schmidt 7, Hannah Helton 17, Madison Atchley 2, Cora Henson 3, Riley Neely 5, Ali Dickey 3, Lexy Edwards 3.
3-point goals: Cornersville (4) - Sam Prosser 2, Coble, DeFoe. Richland (7) - Helton 3, Schmidt, Neely, Dickey, Edwards.
Halftime score-Richland 17, Cornersville 16.