Lady Bulldogs strike back vs. Hampshire
The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs had revenge on the minds Tuesday night when Hampshire, who upset Cornersville 59-51 last year in the district tournament, traveled to southern Marshall County in the district opener for both squads.
The Lady Hawks won just two regular season games in 2015-16 and knocked Santa Fe out of district tournament before beating Cornersville, sending the Lady Bulldogs to the consolation game instead of the championship which ultimately lead to a first round region loss to Perry County.
The Lady Bulldogs (2-3, 1-0) did not have a letdown on Tuesday night, jumping ahead 26-11 at the half before finishing off the Lady Hawks (2-4, 0-1) by a 65-29 score.
"We missed a lot of open shots at the beginning, but as the game went on we got a little more into it, little more comfortable, played a little better together and played a little more up tempo," Cornersville coach Peyton Newton said. "Our defense is going to have to carry us. That'll get us our offense. So that's what we started doing and things started turning in a positive way."
The Bulldogs played phenomenal defense throughout, allowing just three Hawks to score and coming up with 11 steals and four blocks.
Morgan Terry led the team in scoring with 18 points to go along with six rebounds and Sam Prosser added 12 points, four rebounds, and three steals.
Taylor Powers chipped in seven points, Madison Hopkins led the team with four assists to go along with six points and freshman Bethany Fitzgerald added quality minutes with four points and five rebounds.
Abby Jones led the Hawks with 15 points, more than half of her team's points.
The beginning of the contest looked like a repeat of that fateful tournament game last February as the home team scored just five first quarter points and heading into the second period up by just three at 5-2.
Hopkins sparked a 21-point Bulldog second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers at the start of the frame and Terry added eight points as the home squad caught some breathing room heading into the half with a 26-11 lead.
"I think we made a lot more shots, not around the outside, but we did finish a lot more layups than we have been the past couple games," Terry noted. "I think we need to make more outside shots than anything. We've been working a lot more on defense because coach (Gerard) Randolph always says that working hard on defense makes for easy offense."
The Bulldogs full court press quickly paid dividends to start the second half as Carly Salsman scored three straight fast break layups to open up the third quarter as six Cornersville players scored en route to virtually end the game before the fourth quarter began.
"I think we hit a lot of layups by pushing the ball down the floor and a lot of post feeds to the block that they finished," Salsman, who also added two assists and two steals, said. "We started out slow in the first half but our goal tonight was to push the ball and get down the court to get fast break layups and we did a better job of that in the second half."
Coach Newton continuously rotated all 12 players from the second period forward and despite a running clock in the fourth period, eight out of the twelve scored at least four points with six different players adding at least a steal and 10 players grabbing at least two rebounds.
"It's fun to be able to put 12 people in the game," Newton said. "They've all came in here and worked and it's nice to get a few early wins especially your first district game."
The Lady Bulldogs continue on the district tour with a game at home versus Santa Fe on Friday before embarking on a two-game road trip against Columbia Academy and Mount Pleasant.
Cornersville 5 21 23 16-65
Hampshire 2 9 13 5-29
Cornersville (65): Morgan Terry 18, Sam Prosser 12, Taylor Powers 7, Madison Hopkins 6, Carly Salsman 6, Daisy Braden 5, Sarah Beth Prosser 4, Bethany Fitzgerald 4, Emma Mitchell 3.
3-point goals (4): Hopkins 2, Powers, Braden.
Hampshire (29): Abby Jones 15, Brittany James 9, Emma Jones 5.
3-point goals (2): A. Jones, E. Jones
Halftime score: Cornersville 26, Hampshire 11.