Bulldogs suffer district loss versus Fayetteville

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tyler Wolaver scored a team-high 16 points in Cornersville’s 54-43 loss versus Fayetteville Monday afternoon.
Photos by George “Pap” Warren

The Cornersville boys were back in action on a rare Monday afternoon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game against district leading Fayetteville (10-7, 3-0), looking to get back on track after suffering a close loss to Eagleville last week.

And one thing is apparent about this Bulldog team, they have the talent to go head-to-head with any team in the new district, but the key will be getting all the pieces working as one to finally close on a big win.

The Bulldogs (3-10, 1-2) closed the gap with Fayetteville in the third quarter after finding themselves down 10 points early.

But much like the Eagleville game, Cornersville killed itself with untimely turnovers and ill-advised shots when presented the chance to take control of the contest and suffered another winnable loss, 54-43.

"It's the same story, we missed some gimmes towards the beginning of the game," Bulldog coach Matt Hagan said. "In the second half there were still some possessions where we took bad shots that ended up in dunks or they picked our pocket.

“Then it was second chance shots. It's still the little things that catch up to us."

The Tigers entered the game having won eight of nine and six in a row, but the three-win Bulldogs pulled to within two points with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter.

The Tigers went on a 9-0 run to take back control of the contest.

"We boxed out fairly well, but the second half we came out and didn't box out that well," sophomore Tyler Wolaver said. "We had some unforced turnovers to start the second half and that pretty much killed us because so far we haven't really been a second half team."

Wolaver led the Bulldogs, scoring 16 points with four points in each quarter to go along with six rebounds and two steals.

"Turnovers killed us and (Fayetteville) just had more effort and they were pushing the ball up the floor a lot on us, and myself included, got a little tired by the end of the game," Wolaver added. "And we didn't have the people to come in and sub like we usually do. And that hurt us a little bit too."

Darian Bush came off the bench to provide seven points and two assists and Henlee Mitchell added four points, six rebounds and two assists, but the Tigers held the high scoring guard duo of Cam Whitaker and Eli Woodard to a single combined point.

Fayetteville only had four players’ score, but Julius Dixon led the way with 19 points, Isaiah Watkins added 17 points, and Ty Reese contributed 11.

But unlike previous seasons, the Bulldogs did not fall down and die after going down big on multiple occasions.

The game was locked up at 6-6 before a Dixon jumper pushed the lead to 9-6, followed by a Watkins triple to extend the lead to 14-8 at the first period buzzer.

Reese knocked down a turnaround jumper to give the Tigers an 18-8 lead before the Bulldogs finally woke up.

Henlee Mitchell pulls up for a short jumper for two of his four points in the contest.

Wolaver grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup, Mitchell threw a beautiful lob to Kolbe McMahon for a lay in and McMahon returned to favor to Mitchell for a 6-0 mini run to trim the lead to 16 with 1:43 remaining in the first half.

The two teams missed opportunities to effect the score before Dixon grabbed a steal while the Bulldogs were trying to hold for the last shot and sped down the floor for a dunk with 14 seconds remaining for the 22-16 halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs went back to Wolaver at the start of the third period as the sophomore scored on a driving layup and a pretty bank shot off a drive to whittle the lead to 22-20.

The Tigers answered with a 9-0 run and the Bulldogs’ chance at knocking off the Tigers looked slim to none.

Cornersville managed to knock the lead back down to seven points after Wolaver tipped in a Whitaker missed free throw, but the Tigers countered with a Dixon triple and the Bulldogs never got within under 10 points for the rest of the contest.

The Bulldogs have lost six games by 12 points or less and four by nine points or less.

Cornersville has a prime opportunity to jump back into the District 8-A race with a pair of road games at Huntland Friday night and Moore County next Wednesday.

Huntland (3-15, 0-4) and Moore County (4-14, 2-1) have managed a combined seven total wins and are 1-4 in the district.

"This week during practice we've just gotta get better and focus on what to expect from Huntland," Wolaver advised. "As a whole we need to get strong and rededicate ourselves to play as a team and give effort all the time together as a team."

Fayetteville 14 8 14 18-54

Cornersville 8 8 11 14-43

Fayetteville (54): Julius Dixon 19, Isaiah Watkins 17, Ty Reese 11, Floyd Williams 7.

3-Point Goals (5): Dixon 3, Williams, Reese.

Cornersville (43): Tyler Wolaver 16, Darian Bush 7, Henlee Mitchell 4, Kolbe McMahon 4, Caleb Crowell 3, Marquis Martin 2, Bryce Hagan 2, Alexander Stewart 2, Cam Whitaker 1.

3-Point Goals (1): Bush.

Halftime Score: Fayetteville 22, Cornersville 16.