Bulldogs get revenge on Hawks
The Bulldogs came into Tuesday night's game against Hampshire (1-6) riding a five-game losing streak but a 29-point loss versus Zion Christian non-withstanding, Cornersville has been in every single loss including a two-point loss at Hampshire last week and a five-point loss at Mount Pleasant in which the Bulldogs held a double-digit lead late into the game.
Cornersville coach Matt Hagan has been waiting for his team to mold into one unit and finally got his wish with a 60-41 statement win against the Hawks.
"The difference (between the loss against Hampshire last week and the win) was we finally got all our football guys back and playing well together now," Tyler Wolaver, who led all scorers with 20 points, said. "We had one more game to prepare and we've got our chemistry together."
"We still have a long way to go to get where we want to be," Wolaver added. "But I think our talent will start to show throughout the year."
The Bulldogs outscored the Hawks in every quarter but the third (18-16) and always kept Hampshire at arm’s length, never letting a Hawk run gain much momentum without a decisive answer.
Wolaver led both teams with 12 rebounds to go along with four steals and three assists, while Darien Bush added 12 points and three assists, and Cameron Whitaker chipped in nine points and three steals.
Kolbe McMahon added four points and five rebounds and Caleb Crowell came off the bench to provide a strong inside presence with six points and three rebounds.
Noah James led Hampshire with 19 points on five 3-pointers and Billy Carrigan added 12 points.
Coble Brooks knocked down an early three to give the Hawks a 5-2 edge before the Bulldogs went on the first of many scoring spurts.
Whitaker answered with a triple from the corner to tie the game at 5-5 and Marques Martin drilled a line drive 3-pointer on the following possession before a Wolaver steal and layup pushed the Bulldog lead to 14-5 with 1:58 left in the opening period.
The lead grew to 13 points before James got hot from downtown, hitting a three to pull the Hawks to 18-8.
McMahon started off another Bulldog run with an offensive rebound and put-back to extend the lead to 20-8 and another Wolaver steal and layup ended the run with a 28-12 lead.
James knocked down his second long range bomb of the quarter with 1:01 remaining and Cornersville went into the half with a 31-15 lead.
Wolaver got the crowd on its feet with a two-handed stuff to start the second half, but James continued his hot hand knocking down two triples to whittle the Bulldog lead to single digits at 42-33 with 1:38 in the third quarter.
Five straights points from Bush nipped the Hawk run in the bud with a steal and a layup to end the quarter that pushed the lead back to 47-33.
James struck again with another triple just under a minute into the final quarter to trim the lead down to 48-38, but Bush, Wolaver, and Whitaker combined for 13 points in the period to run away with the 19-point win.
The Bulldogs now have two games to attempt payback as Richland (2-5) beat Cornersville before the football players joined the team and Zion Christian (6-1) handed the Bulldogs a 29-point loss just a day after the football players played in the BlueCross Bowl.
"We just have to keep our attitudes good and our chemistry flowing," Wolaver said. "We need to keep up the good ball movement and have all five players working together if we are going to be successful."
"If we just keep a positive attitude, we should be unstoppable when the district tournament rolls around," Wolaver continued. "We just need a good team effort from everyone."
Cornersville 16 15 16 13 60
Hampshire 5 10 18 8 41
Cornersville (60): Tyler Wolaver 20, Darian Bush 14, Cameron Whitaker 9, Caleb Crowell 6, Kolbe McMahon 4, Marquis Martin 3, Henlee Mitchell 2, Devin Baus 2.
Three pointers (3): Bush, Whitaker, Martin.
Free throws (9-19): Wolaver 2-6, Bush 3-5, Whitaker 2-4, Baus 2-2, McMahon 0-2.
Hampshire (41): Noah James 19, Billy Carrigan 12, Aaron Rochelle 4, Coble Brooks 3, Hunter Jones 3.
Three pointers (7): James 5, Brooks, Jones.
Free Throws (2-6): Rochelle 2-3, Carrigan 0-3.
Halftime: Cornersville 31, Hampshire 15.