CMS Lady Bulldogs fall to Culleoka
The Cornersville Middle School girls’ squad came into Tuesday night’s game in the unique position of having played its opponent the previous week and winning by six points over Culleoka.
The one twist thrown in the mix on Tuesday was three key Cornersville players out due to injury.
That missing production was evident from the start as the Lady Bulldogs scored just a single point in the first quarter and four total points the entire first half in a 28-13 loss.
"We had some new starters tonight and lost Alicia, who runs the offense, is the middle person on defense and is just a really big part of our overall game plan," CMS coach Peyton Newton said. "So we had to adjust on offense and work with a smaller lineup on the court. We lost a lot of experience since the last matchup with Culleoka."
Cornersville got strong inside play from Maci Watson with two points and six rebounds and Paisley Young with five points and five rebounds.
C.J. Thompson added five points and two rebounds.
Ryleigh Hamm led all scorers with nine points, while Alex Skinner added eight points for the Warriors.
Braylin Powers made one of two free throws for the only Cornersville points of the opening frame and unfortunately Culleoka scored nine straight to take a 9-1 advantage into the second.
The Lady Bulldogs got plenty of open shots in the second period, but struggled to put the ball in the hole.
Despite the inability to score the Lady Bulldogs found success on the defensive end, holding the Warriors scoreless in the second until a Hamm jumper at the 3:53 mark for the 11-1 lead.
A minute later Jaelyn Hickerson knocked down a short six-foot jumper for a 13-1 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
Cornersville finally broke its drought on a Young offensive rebound and put back with 41 seconds left in the quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs still went into the break trailing 15-4.
"I told them in the locker room that they've got to take the open shots," Newton said. "We passed up a lot of good, open shots in the first half. But we were playing with a lot of inexperience so there was some nervousness."
"But basically we needed to take the open shots and quit turning the ball over," Newton added. "We had a lot of shots go in and out and it seemed like we just couldn't catch a break."
The Lady Bulldogs managed to cut the lead down to a manageable 10 points at 15-5 following a Watson offensive rebound and layup but the Warriors pushed the lead up to 20-5 on a Hamm corner jumper with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Cornersville refused to die as Thompson hit two of three free throws to start the final frame and followed with a triple to cut the Warriors lead back to 22-12.
But the Warriors initiated a full court press and finished the game on a 6-1 run to leave Cornersville with a win.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled at the free throw line, finishing 5-for-13 from the charity stripe and missed the front end of a one-and-one situation three times.
On the other hand, the Warriors allowed Cornersville to stay close by making just 2-of-10 free throws but managed to force the Lady Bulldogs into several late turnovers to keep the game at arm’s length.
The Bulldogs travel to Zion Christian on Thursday night before taking a trip to Minor Hill on Monday night at 6 p.m.
Culleoka 9 6 7 6 28
Cornersville 1 3 4 5 13
Culleoka (28): Ryleigh Hamm 9, Alex Skinner 8, Vallie Stanfil 6, Emma Sieloff 2, Jaelyn Hickerson 2, Tyler Reishman 1.
Cornersville (13): Paisley Young 5, C.J. Thompson 5, Maci Watson 2, Braylin Powers 1.