Richland beats Lady Dawgs in 11-A consolation game

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Samantha Prosser closes in on a Richland player during the District 11-A consolation game Monday night at Culleoka. Photo by George "Pap" Warren

Two long standing rivals took to the court Monday night at Culleoka as Cornersville and Richland fought to the bitter end to avoid traveling to Linden Friday night to face 12-A power Perry County in the first round of the Region 6-A Tournament.

The Bulldogs (13-15) ended a disappointing district tournament appearance by losing to the Raiders (13-11) in the same fashion it had fallen to underdog Hampshire last Thursday-- starting out slow, clawing its way back to take the lead in the fourth quarter before going cold from the field and subsequently losing 44-37.

Familiar problems

"We're not shooting the ball well, we missed a lot of easy shots," Cornersville coach Peyton Newton said. "We didn't rebound the ball or take care of the ball. It was the same things we've been doing wrong. We could have played better defense. I don't think we did anything special tonight. Every chance we had to do something good, we compounded it with something negative."

The Lady Bulldogs were looking to exact a little revenge on the Lady Raiders after Richland beat Cornersville on a Hannah Holden buzzer beating 3-pointer on February 4 to push the Bulldogs from a second place finish to third place heading into the district tournament.

It didn't start well for on Thursday either as the Lady Raiders forced Cornersville into 20 turnovers and just three first quarter points.

"All around our offense wasn't too bad but our defense was really bad," Cornersville forward Sam Prosser said. "We didn't move our feet, we were holding the ball instead of passing it, we missed some shots we should have made and we were giving them second chance shots."

First team

Morgan Terry once again led the Bulldogs with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks to gain All-District 11-A First Team after a 22 point, 13 rebound effort against Hampshire.

Emma Mitchell take the rock strong to the hoop versus Richland.

Emma Mitchell chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and two assists to garner District 11A All-District Second Team honors.

The Raiders were burned once again by Hannah Holden, who led all scorers with 17 points and Riley Neely added 14 points to lead Richland into the Region 6-A Tournament with a third seed and a meeting with Frank Hughes High School at Clifton.

The matchup had all the makings of a blowout early as Holden scored nine first period points and the Raider defense held Cornersville to just three Terry points to end the opening frame with a convincing 14-3 lead.

The Bulldogs came alive in the second period holding the Raiders to just four points in the quarter with Mitchell nailing a 3-pointer and Hope Taylor scoring on a layup with 32 seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 18-15 before Mitchell hitting a driving jumper at the buzzer to cut the once substantial Raider lead to 18-17 going into the break.

Tied up

Sam Prosser nailed a jumper to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:03 in the third quarter and following a Lora Henson free throw, Terry converted two free throws for the Bulldogs first lead of the game at 26-25 with 2:20 left in the quarter.

The lead would be short-lived as Holden struck again with a wide open triple from the top of the key to end head into the final frame with a 28-26 Richland edge.

Madison Hopkins started the fourth quarter off with a deep pull-up 3-pointer to once again tip the scales toward the Lady Bulldogs and a Terry free throw would give Cornersville its largest lead of the game at 30-28 with 7:21 left in the contest.

The Bulldogs would go cold from the field on subsequent possessions, scoring just seven more points during the final seven minutes of the game as Richland ran away with the game and the third seed.

Defensive woes

"I don't think we're playing very good defense." coach Newton stressed. "I don't think we did anything special on the defensive end, offensive end, none of it. I don't think we've played defense as good as we did early in the season and that's hurt us."

The Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot at the free throw line once again by shooting just 43 percent (9-for-21) from the charity stripe, leaving 12 points off the scoreboard in a game decided by just seven points.

Still alive

The Lady Bulldogs will return to the region tournament after a one-year absence following a District 11A championship season in 2013-14, taking on a highly regarded Perry County (22-5) squad in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, culminating with a 71-40 shellacking of Frank Hughes in the District 12A Championship game on Monday night.

"We definitely have the talent to compete with Perry County but we need to work on defense during practice the next couple of days," Prosser explained. "We need to get a couple more shots up and we missed quite a few free throws today too, so we need to make more of those if we expect to win."

The Lady Dawgs have one more chance to salvage a roller coaster of a season that saw Cornersville start off 1-7 before reeling off six straight wins to put itself on the cusp of a second place finish in the district before the buzzer beater at Richland knocked them down to third.

"Somebodies got to step up and be a leader," Newton emphasized. "We've just got to play our basketball. It doesn't matter who we play, if we don't play our basketball, play hard when we step on the floor against anybody it's probably not gonna be pretty."

Richland 14 4 10 16-44

Cornersville 3 14 9 11-37

Richland-Hannah Holden 17, Lora Henson 1, Riley Neely 14, Lexy Edwards 6, Audrey Briggs 1, Callyn Grace Schmidt 2, Madison Atchley 3.

Cornersville-Madison Hopkins 6, Emma Mitchell 11, Morgan Terry 14, Sam Prosser 2, Hope Taylor 4.

3-point goals-Richland- Holden 2, Neely1; Cornersville-Hopkins 2, Mitchell 1, Terry 1.

Halftime score-Richland 18, Cornersville 17.