Bulldogs tally district opening win

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Kolbe McMahon (3) knocks down two of his game-high 21 points on a backdoor pass.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After losing four games in a row, the Cornersville Bulldogs etched a mark in the win column with a big 59-45 coast-to-coast victory at Cascade in Friday night’s District 8-A opener for both squads.

“I’m happy, I’ve coached where I didn’t get any wins in the district, so it’s good, it’s good for our team,” Cornersville coach Matt Hagan said. “We are improving and that’s all you can ask as a coach.”

Bulldog senior Kolbe McMahon led all scorers with 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the contest, while Darien Bush was also in double figures with 15 points and dished out a game-high 9 assists.

Tyler Wolaver grabbed 10 rebounds and added 8 points, Cameron Whitaker scored 9 points and tallied four steals, and Eli Woodard, Henlee Mitchel and Caleb Crowell netted a deuce apiece to round out the well-balanced scoring attack.

The Bulldogs were on fire from the start of the game as Whitaker opened the game with a basket and Wolaver scored in the low post to make it 4-0.

After a Cascade brick, Whitaker rained home Cornersville’s lone 3-pointer of the game and the Bulldogs were off and running with a seven-zip lead.

“When you see that ball go in for you, it boosts your confidence up and you move faster and you play harder on defense,” Hagan said. “The guys were committed to playing defense and rebounding.”

Cameron Whittaker comes up with a first half steal and score for two of his 9 points in the game.

The Champions only managed two free throws in the first period as Cornersville added a pair of free throws by Bush and a backdoor bucket by McMahon to lead 11-2 at the end of the quarter.

“I challenged them, I said listen---we have got to put a body on them guys---and I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the first half,” Hagan said.

Wolaver scored in the low post to begin period number two before Cascade went on an 8-2 run, capped off by an Ethan Swann basket to cut the Cornersville lead to 15-10.

Tyler Wolaver (1) goes high in the air for a rebound and put-back in the first half.

The Bulldogs answered with a backbreaking 12-0 burst on four points apiece by McMahon and Bush, plus a steal and score by Whitaker as Cornersville cruised to a 30-15 halftime lead.

Cascade’s Landon Parker scored eight out of his 10 points in the game in the third quarter, but he was no match for the hot McMahon, who netted 11 points in the period and the Bulldogs took a comfortable 46-32 lead to the final eight minutes.

“He (McMahon) don’t score outside of six inches from the rim,” a smiling Hagan said. “But he can finish.”

Both squads scored 13 points apiece in the fourth period.

Cornersville (3-9, 1-0) took on Eagleville (8-8, 1-0) Tuesday night at Frog Bottom in another District 8-A contest, while Fayetteville (8-7, 1-0) hosted Huntland (3-12, 0-1) and Moore County (2-14, 0-1) traveled to Cascade (3-11, 0-1) in the other league matchups.

“It’s a February sport,” Hagan said. “You try to be at your peak when tournament time comes around, but we don’t have much of a choice because our football guys gotta get a ball in their hand, dribbling, shooting, and passing so it takes them a while to get those skills back, but they are athletes and we are glad to have them.”

Cornersville 11 19 16 13 — 59

Cascade 2 13 17 13 — 45

Cornersville: Kolbe McMahan 21, Darien Bush 15, Cameron Whitaker 9, Tyler Wolaver 8, Eli Woodard 2, Henlee Mitchell 2, Caleb Crowell 2.

3-Point goals (1): Whitaker.

Free Throws (10-for-19): Bush 7-for-10, McMahon 3-for-7, Bryce Hagan 0-for-2.

Cascade: Ethan Swan 12, Landon Parker 10, Brandon Heath 9, Seth Countess 6, Jaden Russell 3, Jake Vincent 3, O’Shea Shelley 2.

3-Point goals: Cascade (3): Heath, Countes, Vincent.

Free Throws (8-for-14): Swann 4-for-4, Heath 2-for-4, Countes 1-for-2, Russell 1-for-2, Shelly 0-for-2.

Halftime score: Cornersville 30, Cascade 15.