CORNERSVILLE — The Lady Wildcats (7-0) of Wayne County High School made the long trek to the gymnasium of the Cornersville High School Lady Bulldogs (5-3) for Friday night’s non-district basketball game.
The Lady Bulldogs despite rushing out to an 8-0 lead courtesy of the hot hand of Anna Wood and leading by three points at the end of the first quarter, could not withstand the pressure defense and veteran play by four of five starters from the TSSAA 1A championship game last March as the Lady Wildcats built on their halftime lead to best the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs, 64-44.
The Lady Wildcats got 27 points from six-foot forward Blair Baugus, a sophomore, that plays with smooth precision and grace, weaving in and around under the basket.
The Lady ‘Dawgs were led by Alicia Polk with 15 points, Wood with 13 points and Jayli Childress with 10 points.
Both teams started out slow as Wayne County controlled the tip, missed their first shot and Cornersville’s Ady Gentry grabbed the rebound but the Lady ‘Dawgs who could not convert even though Jayli Childress grabbed the rebound off her own missed shot, but Wood’s jumper was short, and Wayne County controlled the board.
Wayne County’s Baugus worked low for a lay-up and the Lady ‘Cats were on the board, 8-2.
Alicia Polk from deep in the far corner drained a three-pointer and the Lady ‘Dawgs pushed the lead to mine points, 11-2.
Wayne County struck back as Jac Keaton sank a basket and Kenzie Griggs from out front drilled a three-pointer to make the score 11-7 at the 3:13 mark of the first quarter.
Childress scored down low off a nice assist from Wood before Griggs drilled a three-pointer to make the score 15-12 as time ran down in the first quarter.
The second quarter began with Childress for Cornersville, again with the aid of a nice pass from Polk, scoring on a short jumper that pushed the lead to five points.
Wayne County then went on a five-point run that tied the game at 17-17, then gained their first lead on a basket from Keaton, 19-17 at the 4:24 mark of the second quarter.
Ady Gentry scoring from down low brought Cornersville back to 19-19, but Lauren Bryant sank a three-pointer for Wayne County and Baugus got loose inside for another basket and the Lady Wildcats led 24-19 as Cornersville’s Coach Hayden McMahon called time out at the 2:33 mark until halftime.
Childress scored on a nice drive to the basket made the score to 24-21 before Baugus went to the free-throw line and sank two free-throws.
On the next Wayne County possession, Griggs rained down a three-pointer to make the score 29-23 that held up until the second quarter horn sounded sending the teams to halftime.
The talent of the team from Wayne County High School showed up in the third quarter as the Lady Wildcats raced out via a 10-point run before a basket by Polk made the score 39-25 at the 4:27 mark.
Baugus again was the culprit as she tossed in nine points with four baskets and a free throw and Jac Keaton score five of her points in the third quarter.
Polk scored six points and Wood contributed five points, but the 10-point run at the start of the quarter was the difference as Wayne County led 45-32 at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter for the Lady Bulldogs saw the team battle hard but the depth and seasoned Lady Wildcats edged out further as Baugus shooting free throws scored six points plus sinking two baskets.
For the Lady Bulldogs, 5-foot-9 freshman Camille Franklin, flashed future promise as she contributed four points and battled inside.
Polk with four points and Childress scored in the last quarter as Wayne County controlled the tempo throughout the rest of the game as they stopped Cornersville’s three-game win streak with the 20-point victory.
“We came out hot like we wanted to, I thought we played well, they had two runs, one at the end of the first half and the other (10-0 run) to begin the third quarter. We got close (10 points) in the fourth quarter, but I felt we got gassed there because we were playing so hard. Playing good teams will help us though as the season goes on. I like playing good teams,” Cornersville coach Hayden McMahon said
Wayne County 12 17 16 19 — 64
Cornersville 15 8 11 10 — 44
Wayne Co.: Blair Baugus 27, Jae Keaton 15, Kenzie Griggs 15, Alexis Maghielse 4,
Lauren Bryant 3.
Cornersville (30): Alicia Polk 15, Anna Wood 13, Jayli Childress 10, Camille Franklin 4, Ady Gentry 2.
3-Point Goals: Wayne Co.(5): Griggs 3, Keaton, Bryant; Cornersville (4): Wood 3, Polk.
Halftime Score: Wayne County 29, Cornersville 23.