Tigerettes handle Lady Bulldogs in intra-county rivalry
One game that a lot of basketball fans in Marshall County had circled on the calendars was a mid-season, holiday tournament matchup between the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs and Marshall County Tigerettes.
Little did anyone know that both teams would enter the Richland Christmas Tournament with extremely impressive records against top-notch competition.
Cornersville (11-1) entered the contest on an eight-game winning streak with its last three wins by a combined 172-63 point total, while the Tigerettes (10-2) came into the game just five total points away from being undefeated after suffering a two-point setback against 3A powerhouse Lawrence County and 1A Huntland, fresh off a 27 win season the previous campaign.
"We don't usually get to play against them so our team was able to get really fired up," Tigerette guard Leah Hollingsworth said. "Probably the most excited that we've been for a game all season, just getting to play against people that we know. And we know they've been a really good team so it was a challenge for us."
The actual contest turned out a lot more underwhelming than the buildup as Marshall County built a healthy first half lead while holding the Bulldogs to just 12 points before the break.
The Tigerettes went on to hold the Lady Dawgs to a season low point total on the way to an easy 54-36 win.
In what is now becoming an obvious trend under coach David Steely, the Tigerettes have now held Cornersville, Loretto, and Fairview to seasons lows in points, Culleoka, Harpeth Hall and Cascade to each's own second lowest point totals of the year, and 3A Siegel to its third lowest scoring output of the season.
"We were pretty excited to play this game tonight," Steely said. "I was glad to see us come out and start quick because we haven't done that a lot this year. We knew they were 10-1 and of course we know they're in the county so we wanted to play well."
Hollingsworth led a balanced Tigerette scoring attack with 13 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists while sophomore Kelsey Keiler added 11 points and Demarie Ingram chipped in 10 points with three assists and two steals.
The Tigerette low post attack was running on all cylinders as Hannah Davis finished with nine points and eight rebounds and Alli Hobbs dominated with eight points and 13 rebounds.
But perhaps the post player’s biggest coup was holding Cornersville's all-world post Morgan Terry to just 11 points.
Terry averages around 20 points and 10 rebounds a game and is on pace to score 2,000 career points by the end of the season.
"I think our biggest focus was shutting down Morgan Terry because we knew that she's their best player, she's what makes them go," Hollingsworth explained. "So we put our best defender on her and game planned around that and other than that it was just being smart and being aggressive.
Ingram was the player the Bulldogs hadn't counted on putting up points, but the junior guard scored six in the opening frame to push the Tigerette lead to 16-6 heading into the second quarter.
Cornersville still had trouble scoring in the next period as Sarah Beth Prosser, Abbie Woodard, and Emma Mitchell all chipped in a deuce, but Davis put up five to give Marshall County a 25-12 edge at intermission.
"We told them there was a lack of energy towards the beginning of the game," Bulldog coach Peyton Newton said. "Rebounding killed us and we missed some easy buckets. You put all of those together and you’re definitely not going to win. We didn't do much right in the first half so we put ourselves in a bind going into the second half."
Terry finally showed signs of life in the third quarter with eight points to go along with Gabby King's six points as the pair single handily outscored the entire Bulldog first half offensive output, but Hollingsworth got hot as well, drilling two more triples and a mid-range jumper while Hobbs added six of her eight total points in the frame to put the game out of reach for the Lady Bulldogs.
"I think we didn't rebound as well as we should," Terry said. "We were more focused on the drive, so when the shot went up and we didn't rebound well, they were able to crash the boards and get a lot of second chances."
But despite the loss, Newton still saw enough out of his squad to know the will bounce back quickly from the disappointing loss.
"I always love coaching this group because they stay together, even when things get tough," Newton said. "I think they keep their confidence. The next opponent should be scared to play us. That's gonna be our mindset. We're gonna be ticked off. We're not used to losing. We got beat. We didn't play well so our attitudes got to be I can't wait to play tomorrow night. And come out and play mad against Murfreesboro Central Magnet."
Cornersville 6 6 17 7 36
Marshall Co. 16 9 21 6 54
Cornersville (36): Morgan Terry 11, Gabby King 8, Taylor Powers 6, Emma Mitchell 4, Sarah Beth Prosser 2, Meri Hannah Walker 2, Abbie Woodard 2, Lexi Warren 1.
3-Point Goals (1): Powers.
Marshall County (54): Leah Hollingsworth 13, Kelsey Keiler 11, Demarie Ingram 10, Hannah Davis 9, Alli Hobbs 8, Claire Woods 3.
3-Point Goals (3): Hollingsworth 3.
Halftime Score: Marshall County 25, Cornersville 12.