Richland completes series sweep over Lady Bulldogs
After three straight wins, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs ran up against a buzz saw at Richland Friday as they suffered a 55-25 lopsided loss.
“I know these girls well and they are unbelievable young ladies, all of them are,” Cornersville coach Peyton Newton said. “We just have to find a way to have all 14 on the same page and understand that you have to compete at your best in each drill, each day, each practice.”
“When we get that out of them as a team, we’ll win ballgames.”
Cornersville was held scoreless the entire the first quarter, mostly due to 12 turnovers in the period as they didn’t get many chances to even shoot ball.
“Our offense has been terrible, but we truly believe it starts with defense and lack of focus,” Newton said. “We could not, or would not, get in the correct spots to run our offense and that puts too much pressure on or point guards to handle the ball until people get into the correct spots.”
“We can fix those things. Again, we can’t fix a lack of love for the game or lack of fight and hate to lose mentality.”
It was much of the same in the second period as Richland took a 28-0 lead until Jesse Woodard made one free throw with 2:43 in the stanza.
Alicia Polk, who led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with six points, made both ends of a one and one situation from the free throw line moments after Woodard broke the ice and Cornersville went to the intermission in a very deep 30-3 hole.
Richland continued to score in the third quarter and Cornersville did not as the Lady Raiders took a 41-3 lead when Meri Hannah Walker finally knocked down a runner in the lane for Cornersville’s first field with 1:18 remaining in the period.
The Walker field goal got the Lady Bulldogs going a bit as Lexi Warren and Payton Salsman hit back-to-back 3-pointers near the end of the third period to make it 44-11, entering the final eight minutes of play.
Cornersville began to pick up the pace as they became more aggressive and took better care of the ball in the fourth period.
“The difference in the second half was energy and a desire to compete,” Newton said. “We have preached toughness and a want-to attitude to this group since day one.”
“We don’t have a lot of meanness to us right now and that shows early in games.”
Polk began the fourth quarter with a rebound and put-back and after forcing a Richland turnover, Salsman scored on a drive to the hoop.
The Lady Bulldogs backed that up by scoring 10 more points in the fourth quarter for the 55-25 final.
“I think in the second half the groups we got in there competed and heard the passion for needing more energy preached from our coaches at halftime,” Newton said. “We challenged them to compete at a high level, and never look at the scoreboard in the second half. I think they did that.”
Richland had eight players in the scoring column as Jesse Jennings (13) and Riley Neely (12) ended up in double figures.
Caylee Parker and Maggie Perry had eight points apiece, Hope Calahan netted five, Marti Hood and Gracie Adams tallied four points apiece, and Halle Braden added one marker.
Bethany Fitzgerald had six for Cornersville, Payton Salsman finished with five, Lexi Warren scored three, Daisey Braden and Walker had two points apiece, and Woodard had the one free throw in the second quarter.
“We can only go up from here, we play a lot of young, inexperienced ladies,” Newton said. “They will make some mistakes we can accept. What we cannot accept is a lack of focus, the same mistakes over and over, and a lack of effort and energy.”
“They will continue to hear us preach these things and I know we will have some buy in.”
The Lady Bulldogs hosted winless Zion Christian Academy (0-7) on Tuesday and travel to Santa Fe Friday (2-7) night.
“We will start rewarding toughness and effort with playing time,” Newton said. “I hope all 14 buy in so we can make a run in district play and get ready for a tournament run in February.”
“We have time to do that, but that time evaporates each day we leave that gym.”
Cornersville 0 3 8 14-25
Richland 20 10 14 11-55
Cornersville (25): Alicia Polk 6, Bethany Fitzgerald 6, Payton Salsman 5, Lexi Warren 3, Daisey Braden 2, Meri Hannah Walker 2, Abbie Woodard 1.
Three-point goals (2): Warren 1, Salsman 1.
Free Throws (7-for-12): Polk 2-for-2, Braden 2-for-2, Fitzgerald 2-for-2, Woodard 1-for-4, Salsman 0-for-1, CJ Thompson 0-for-1.
Richland (55): Jesse Jennings 13, Riley Neely 12, Caylee Parker 8, Maggie Perry 8, Hope Calahan 5, Marti Hood 4, Gracie Adams 4, Halle Braden 1.
Three-point goals (4): Perry 2, Neely 1, Parker 1.
Free Throws (17-for-26): Jennings 3-for-3, Neely 3-for-4, Parker 3-for-5, Calahan3-for-6, Perry 2-for-2, Halle Braden 1-for-2, Gracie Braden 0-for-2.
Halftime Score: Richland 30, Cornersville 3.
Next Game: Thursday, December 20 at Santa Fe, 6 p.m.