Fourth quarter drought dooms Lady Bulldogs
Despite a tough loss on Tuesday to Santa Fe, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs had a chance to redeem the setback and regain a share of first place in the district with a win at Richland in a makeup game on Thursday night.
Cornersville took leads into the second quarter, halftime and found itself down just two heading into the final quarter before suffering a second straight fourth quarter breakdown, losing 48-31 after scoring just five points in the final eight minutes.
"I think we got fatigued and let that dictate how we played the fourth quarter," CHS coach Peyton Newton offered. "We started turning the ball over in situations we hadn't been doing so and we forced shots at times we had not been forcing."
"When we got tired physically, we let it show up mentally as well and that played a big part of the disappointing fourth quarter."
The Lady Bulldogs were led by Morgan Terry's 12 points and 10 rebounds and Samantha Prosser chipped in six points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Madison Hopkins added five points and two steals.
The Lady Bulldogs' (8-7, 6-3) shooting woes continued as the maroon and white managed to make just 5-of-16 from the free throw line and 4-of-16 from long range.
"I think we lost momentum and started missing shots and that caused us to get frustrated," junior forward Morgan Terry said. "I think we just need to slow down and scout our options. I feel like we try to play fast and turning it over instead of going at our own pace and setting something up."
Cornersville started the contest on a positive note by outscoring the Lady Raiders 11-8 in the opening quarter, led by five points from Terry and four points from Brooke Defoe.
Richland (13-4, 9-0) scored the first two buckets in the second quarter to take a brief 12-11 lead before Hopkins scored a layup while being fouled and Samantha Prosser grabbed the miss and made the put-back to regain the lead at 17-16.
Terry nailed a jumper to push the lead back to three, but Catlyn Grace Schmidt scored the last bucket of the half to bring the first place Raiders within one.
The Lady Raiders scored the first three points of the second half to regain the lead, but the two defenses battled back and forth before Hopkins finally broke the drought with a layup with 3:37 remaining in the period for the 21-21 tie.
Samantha Prosser finally broke out of a shooting slump with a 3-pointer on the next possession to put Cornersville up 24-21, but the lead would be short-lived as Hannah Helton drained a three at the other end of the court to knot the contest at 24.
Carly Salsman knocked down a jumper with 12 seconds left in the third period to tie the game at 26, but Schmidt nailed two free throws to give Richland a two-point advantage heading into the final period.
For the second game in a row the Lady Bulldogs self-destructed in the fourth quarter as a combination of a tough Raider press and the pressure of trying to come back from behind doomed Cornersville as Richland outscored its longtime rival 20-5 during the period to run away with the otherwise close contest.
"We were not patient on offense and started rushing to take shots and they just didn't fall like they did the first half of the game," senior guard Carly Salsman said about the final period.
The Lady Raiders scored the same amount of points in the fourth quarter than the Lady Bulldogs managed in the last three quarters of the game combined and Richland won its fifth straight game to remain in first place in the district standings.
"We called a couple of timeouts to try and calm them down," Newton explained. "If it's one or two players, you can get them out and someone else can step in. When it's several players who lose focus and concentration then it's almost impossible to overcome. We couldn't overcome it in the fourth quarter, but we've got to move on and learn from it."
The loss dropped the Lady Bulldogs down to third place before a huge game with Columbia Academy on Friday evening.
Cornersville 11 8 7 5-31
Richland 8 10 10 20-48
Cornersville (31): Morgan Terry 12, Sam Prosser 6, Madison Hopkins 5, Brooke Defoe 4, Carly Salsman 2, Payton Salsman 1, Taylor Powers 1
3-point goals (2): Sam Prosser, Terry
Richland (48): Catlyn Grace Schmidt 16, Jesse Jennings 10, Riley Neely 9, Hannah Helton 8, Marti Hood 2, Hope Calahan 2, Caylee Parker 1
3-point goals (3): Helton 2, Neely
Halftime score: Cornersville 19, Richland 18