Allen leads Bulldogs to win at Culleoka

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Cornersville senior Michael Allen (31) gives a big fist pump after scoring and being fouled with 1:02 remaining in the game, giving Cornersville a lead it would not surrender in a 42-38 win at Culleoka Friday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After suffering three consecutive District 11A losses by 20 points or more, the Cornersville Bulldogs bounced back with a thrilling 41-38 win at Culleoka Friday night.

"It was a little more exciting than I wanted it to be," Cornersville coach Matt Hagan said. "It was not a very pretty game, but I'm just glad we came away with the victory for the kids."

Senior Michael Allen led all scorers with 17 points in the game and he was instrumental in sealing the win for Cornersville, scoring on a monster rebound and put-back with one minute to play in the game and then hitting a crucial free throw 30 seconds later.

Allen's heroics kept the Bulldogs (6-12, 6-6) in one of the top four spots in the district standings and not withstanding what happened versus Richland (19-1, 11-1) last night, the Bulldogs can clinch fourth place with a win over Grace Christian-Franklin (6-15, 5-7) at Cornersville in Friday night's final district contest.

"I'll tell you what, we better show up to play that's all I can say," Hagan said. "That was a night they didn't shoot very well, so hopefully they won't next Friday either."

Cornersville came up with a well-rounded scoring attack as freshman Tyler Wolaver scored nine points, including two 3-pointers and a crucial free throw down the stretch.

Devin Baus (30) came off the bench to score five points in a big second quarter for the Bulldogs.

Devin Baus and Cameron Whittaker scored five points apiece, Henlee Mitchell and Eli Woodard had two points each and Marques Martin tallied a single marker.

Allen started the game by drilling a 3-pointer and Matthew Gilliam made a field goal for Culleoka before the Bulldogs ran off 10 straight points, beginning with a Cameron Whittaker 3-pointer and ending on an Allen three-point play the old fashioned way with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

A Tyler Brown bucket for Culleoka broke the Bulldog streak and the first quarter ended with Cornersville holding a 13-4 lead.

Eli Woodward knocked in a baseline runner to kick off the second quarter for Cornersville, but the Warriors fought back, desperately trying to keep the score within reach.

Culleoka managed to slice the Bulldogs' lead to seven points at 24-17 on 3-pointer by Gilliam with just under a minute to go in the second period, but Wolaver matched the trey to stave off the Warriors as Cornersville took a 27-17 lead to the break.

The Warriors dug deep to begin the second half, scoring six straight points before Wolaver struck from downtown again, making it 30-23.

From there, Culleoka outscored the Bulldogs 8-6 and trailed by five points entering the pivotal fourth quarter.

The Warriors kept chipping away at the Cornersville lead, cutting it to three, two and finally one point at 37-36 on a single free throw by Chaffin Thrasher with 6:19 remaining in the contest.

The Bulldogs went cold from the field at the wrong time and with 3:24 left in the contest, Cooper Parks scored on a short jumper in the lane to put Culleoka in front for the first time in the game.

Two missed free throws by Culleoka led to Allen's crucial rebound and score with 1:02 remaining in the game, securing the lead back to the Dawgs for the final time.

"Michael has done so much for us this year, I call him the glue that sticks us together," Hagan said. "I'm not the brightest light in the building, but I know he is the glue that holds our younger guys together when they lose their cool."

Culleoka turned the ball over on its next touch and Allen made one free throw to make it a 40-38 contest.

Cornersville freshman Tyler Wolaver drains a free throw with 12.6 seconds left in the contest, giving the Bulldogs a three-point lead.

A missed shot at the other end doomed the Warriors and Wolaver made sure when he made it a two possession game on a made free throw to secure the win for Cornersville.

Cornersville 13 14 9 5-41

Culleoka 4 13 14 7-38

Cornersville (41): Michael Allen 17, Tyler Wolaver 9, Cameron Whittaker 5, Devin Baus 5, Henlee Mitchell 2, Eli Woodard 2, Marques Martin 1

3-point goals (4): Wolaver 2, Whittaker, Allen

Free throws (11-for-23): Allen 6-for-10, Whittaker 2-for-4, Martin 1-for-3, Baus 1-for-1, Wolaver 1-for-4, Mitchell 0-for-1

Culleoka (38): Chaffin Thrasher 11, Tyler Brown 9, Matthew Gilliam 7, Dylan Hubbell 3, Cooper Parks 3, Chase Thrasher 2, Ethan Hardison 2

3-point goals (3): Chaffin Thrasher, Gilliam, Hubbell

Free throws (15-for-31): Brown 7-for-10, Chaffin Thrasher 5-for-10, Chase Thrasher 2-for-8, Parks 1-for-3

Halftime score: Cornersville 27, Culleoka 38