Lady Bulldogs’ slow start leads to home loss
If you could flip the game around, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs would have had a great chance at beating Richland Tuesday night at home.
The Lady Bulldogs (4-3) got off to a slow start that lasted for three quarters before they finally showed what they had, but it was way too late as the Lady Raiders (4-1) took advantage of their good fortune in a 51-31 win.
“We have got to get comfortable at the beginning of the game and not wait until we are down 10 or 20 to start playing well,” Cornersville coach Peyton Newton. “We are playing some young ones and inexperienced ones and I think when the moments are big and they get kind of timid they are not sure of themselves.”
“They are good basketball players and they have to understand they are good and they have to be confident in who you are and what kind of player you are, and then they can start playing better.”
Richland standout floor general Jesse Jennings led all scorers in the contest with 20 points, including a stout 6-for-8 effort from the free throw line and Jennings had several steals on defense.
Riley Neely added nine points, Caylee Parker had eight points and a pair of 3-pointers, Maggie Perry chipped in with seven points and one long bomb, Marti Hood scored three points, and Allie Garner and Halle Braden netted two points apiece for the Lady Raiders.
“They (Richland) are aggressive offensively and have some girls that have been handling the ball for a while and when they get confident and start making some baskets, they are tough to guard,” Newton said. “So when we play them or play somebody else that has some really good ball handlers and really good shooters, we have to be quicker on our closeouts and be quicker side to side.”
Cornersville eighth-grader Alicia Polk, playing in her first varsity home game, got off to a slow start before settling in with a team-high 11 points, including a pair of treys.
Gabby King scored nine points, Abbie Woodard added seven points and one 3-pointer, Paisley Young scored two, and Bethany Fitzgerald and Payton Salsman had one marker apiece for the Lady Bulldogs.
Richland got off to a 5-0 start before both squads had trouble putting the ball in the net with no scoring until King made two free throws for Cornersville with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Jennings scored the next three points for Richland before Woodard nailed two free throws at the end of the period to make it an 8-4 contest.
Richland took off to begin the second period as they went on a 12-0 run, sparked by a pair of steal and scores by Jennings to open up a 20-4 lead.
The Lady Raiders went on to hold a 24-7 lead before Cornersville added five points on a King three-point play the old-fashioned way and Polk’s first varsity field at home at the end of the first half.
Richland took a 26-12 lead to the halftime break and after Polk scored again to begin the second half, the Lady Raiders steamrolled Cornersville as they outscored the Lady Bulldogs 16-0 for the remainder of the stanza and took a commanding 42-14 lead to the fourth quarter.
Parker scored all eight of her points in the third quarter.
A Braden bucket early in the fourth quarter made it a 47-17 ballgame and then the Lady Bulldogs finally got into a rhythm as they reeled off 11 straight points, including two 3’s by Polk and one long bomb by Woodard to make it a 47-28 contest.
The Lady Raiders scored four points and the Lady Bulldogs three the rest of the way.
“If we can play loose and play free and let our athleticism and natural ability come out, I think we will be a better ball team,” Newton said. “We have a lot of room to grow and I think we will do that and I hope it happens sooner than later.”
“We have until January to show our maturity and once we get some confidence and understand we are better than what we are playing, when they do that I think we will get a lot more wins.”
Cornersville hosts Hampshire at Frog Bottom on Tuesday.
Richland 8 18 16 9-51
Cornersville 4 8 2 17-31
Richland (51): Jesse Jennings 20, Riley Neely 9, Caylee Parker 8, Maggie Perry 7, Marti Hood 3, Allie Garner 2, Halle Braden 2.
Free Throws (14-for-24): Jennings 6-for-8, Perry 4-for-5, Neely 3-for-6, Hood 1-for-2, Parker 0-for-3.
Three-Point Goals (3): Parker 2, Perry 1.
Cornersville (31): Alicia Polk 11, Gabby King 9, Abbie Woodard 7, Paisley
Young 2, Bethany Fitzgerald 1, Payton Salsman 1.
Free Throws (10-for-23): King 3-for-6, Young 2-for-3, Woodard 2-for-2, Polk 1-for-2, Salsman 1-for-2, Fitzgerald 1-for-2, Lexie Warren 0-for-1, Daisey Braden 0-for-5.
Three-Point Goals (3): Polk 2, Woodard 1.
Halftime Score: Richland 26, Cornersville 12.
Next Game: Tuesday, Dec. 4 versus Hampshire, 6 p.m.