Lady Bulldogs suffer big district loss to Santa Fe

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Carly Salsman knocks down a 3-pointer with two Lady Wildcat defenders in her face. Salsman connected on two triples in the Lady Bulldogs' 12-point loss at Santa Fe Tuesday night. Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

Tuesday night's game against Santa Fe was one the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs wish they could have back.

If the Lady Bulldogs, sporting just one District 11A loss, took care of business against Santa Fe it would have had a chance to play for first-place in a matchup with Richland looming on the horizon Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Cornersville (8-6, 6-2), the Lady Wildcats (8-7, 5-3) weren't ready to give up on its own district title hopes and moved within one game of second place with a convincing 57-45 win over the Lady Bulldogs.

"Nobody is happy," CHS coach Peyton Newton said. "Coaches, we didn't have our best game, players we know didn't have their best game and Santa Fe had a great game. So, it's a night we have to move past."

"It's gonna hurt, it's gonna sting but it's gonna sting until Thursday when we're gonna regroup," Newton continued. "That's a tough, close team in the locker room. We're gonna regroup and take care of business Thursday at Richland and kind of push this one in the back of our minds we hope."

The Lady Dawgs led in the game for the majority of the first three quarters, but a late third period run and a lights out fourth quarter allowed the Lady Wildcats to pull away late.

The usually high percentage shooting Lady Bulldogs went ice cold from downtown on Tuesday night hitting just 5-of-23 from downtown.

I think that we got frustrated with bad calls from the refs and that caused us to take contested shots," junior forward Morgan Terry said.

After scoring a career-high 34 points against Hampshire last Friday, Terry led the charge against the Wildcats with 16 points and seven rebounds and Samantha Prosser added nine points, six rebounds and a team-high three steals.

Madison Hopkins attempts a first quarter 3-pointer against Santa Fe in Tuesday night's 57-45 loss.

Madison Hopkins and Carly Salsman contributed eight points apiece.

The Wildcats were led by Hannah Warf with 20 points, Katie Muston with 18 points and Abigail Chadwell with 10.

Santa Fe took an early 13-8 lead on a Muston triple with 2:09 left in the opening quarter, but after the Wildcats tacked on another two points, the Lady Bulldogs got a boost on a layup and a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Terry to close the gap to 15-13, heading into the second quarter.

Hopkins cut the lead down to one on a driving layup and Samantha Prosser knocked down two free throws to give Cornersville a 17-16 edge.

After Santa Fe regained the lead on the next possession, Sarah Beth Prosser grabbed it back for the Bulldogs on a hard fought offensive rebound and a short jumper.

Cornersville looked to have the momentum shift its way when Carly Salsman nailed a heavily contested 3-pointer for the 22-18 lead, but Santa Fe tied the game at 22-22 on a Christine Hood layup.

The two heated rivals traded baskets for the next minute before Terry grabbed an offensive rebound off her own miss and scored on a layup at the buzzer for the 26-24 lead at the half.

The see-saw battle continued into the third quarter as Salsman hit her second trey of the game for the 29-26 lead, but Muston matched with a three of her own to tie the game.

With the game knotted at 31-31, Chadwell stole an errant pass and scored on a layup for the 33-31 lead, but Terry knocked down a three off the inbounds play to give the lead back to the Bulldogs at 34-33.

Unfortunately for Cornersville it would be its last lead of the game as the Wildcats took a 39-36 lead into the final frame.

Terry grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for a layup to cut the lead back to one at 39-38, but that would be the closest the maroon and white would come for the rest of the game.

The Wildcats scored four quick points before the Bulldogs panicked and started shooting quick three's to play catch up despite five minutes remaining in the quarter, ultimately leading to easy Santa Fe layups at the other end and an 18-9 run to end the contest.

"We lost our focus," Newton explained. "We started doing some things we haven't been doing here lately. Turning the ball over, our defense had some breakdowns and our help side wasn't very good."

"I felt like we were on the wrong end of some tough calls, but bottom line we didn't do our job defensively," Newton added. "We missed some big shots at some big moments. So we'll regroup, get better and be ready for Thursday."

Much like the boys team, the Lady Bulldogs now face a crucial three-game stretch against the top two and fifth place team in the district, starting with first place Richland on Thursday night.

"We all know how big of a game this is for us and this makes us hungry for another district win," Terry stated. "We just have to stay focused and confident and we've got it in the bag."

Cornersville 13 13 10 9-45

Santa Fe 15 9 15 18-57

Cornersville (45): Morgan Terry 16, Sam Prosser 9, Carly Salsman 8, Madison Hopkins 8, Sarah Beth Prosser 4

3-point goals (5): Terry 2, C. Salsman 2, Sam Prosser

Santa Fe (57): Hannah Warf 20, Katie Muston 18, Abigail Chadwell 10, Jenna Pack 5, Jordan Steward 2, Christine Hood 2

3-point goals (2): Muston 2

Halftime: Cornersville 26, Santa Fe 24