Lady Lions win by 10, eliminate Lady Bulldogs
The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs were excruciatingly close to a win over Eagleville in the third/fourth place game in the District 8-A Tournament at Cascade last week.
The difference between a win and a loss in that district tournament was a huge factor for the region tournament as evidenced by Eagleville's easy 54-10 win in the opener versus Merrol Hyde.
Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs (19-10) faced first place Grace Christian Academy-Franklin (17-9), who rolled to an undefeated regular season district record in its new conference and ultimately, was the only team from District 7-A to survive the opening round of the region tournament with a 50-37 win over Cornersville despite going into halftime down by one-point.
The other three District 8-A teams beat 7-A teams by a combined 217-48 score as Moore County, Huntland and Eagleville all advanced.
"Obviously it wasn't our night to win," Lady Bulldog coach Peyton Newton said. "We couldn't buy a bucket, every time we made a run they hit a huge shot and we couldn't ever get in a good flow."
The Lady Bulldogs were led by Taylor Powers with 10 points, five rebounds and two steals, Morgan Terry had eight points and nine rebounds, and Sarah Beth Prosser added seven points.
"I don't think we played as a team as well as we usually do," Powers said. "Their 1-2-2 kind of threw us off tonight. We practiced against it all week but we're better at driving to the basket and creating and they stopped us from doing that tonight."
The Lions were led by Anna Smith with 28 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs started out the season 15-2 that included a nine-game winning streak and an appearance in the statewide AP Top 10 Poll at number nine, but a loss that week at Huntland dropped Cornersville out as quickly as it jumped into the poll.
Cornersville finished the season 3-7 in its last 10 games.
"We had a nice season, winning almost 20 games and went on some nice winning streaks," Newton said. "For a big part of the season we had most of the players bought in, but our focus for next season is to make sure every player on the team buys into what we are doing."
The squads ended the first period knotted up at 7-7 and a huge second quarter from Powers (seven points) gave Cornersville a slight one-point edge at the half.
A symptom from most of the Lady Bulldogs tough end run of the season losses, Cornersville once again opened the third quarter stale from the field and scored six total points in the period to find itself down entering the final frame.
Cornersville missed four straight free throws and followed with two straight air balls from 3-point range to start the fourth quarter.
With six minutes remaining in the game, a Carlie Mason offensive rebound and put-back gave GCA its biggest lead of the game at 38-25.
The Lady Bulldogs refused to die and fought back to within 43-38 with just over two minutes remaining on a Prosser layup and Terry jumper, but Cornersville was unable to complete the comeback as the Lions sealed the game at the charity stripe.
"We cut it to five with 3:30 or so left and got a nice steal," Newton recalled. "Emma (Mitchell) got called for a very questionable charge and from there Grace did what it took to put us away."
"We will miss our amazing seniors---Taylor, Morgan and Emma," Newton added. "They are incredible young ladies and I can't wait to see what they accomplish in their bright futures. At the same time we need players to step up and fill their leadership and playing voids in order to be successful next season and I look forward to seeing who does that."
Cornersville 7 12 6 12-37
Grace Christian 7 11 12 20-50
Cornersville (37): Taylor Powers 10, Morgan Terry 8, Sarah Beth Prosser 7, Emma Mitchell 6, Gabby King 3, Payton Salsman 3.
3-Point goals (3): Salsman, Powers, Prosser.
Grace Christian (50): Anna Smith 28, Audrey Sanders 10, Carlie Mason 4, Charlie Baker 4, Parker Spencer 2, Raychel Calvert 2.
3-Point goals (3): Smith 3.
Halftime Score: Cornersville 19, GCA 18.