CORNERSVILLE — The Cornersville Bulldogs are enjoying a fine start for the 2021-2022 season hosted the Marshall County High School Tigers (6-5), themselves owning a three-game win streak, in front of a loud and near capacity crowd in the nightcap last Friday night at Cornersville Gymnasium.
The Tigers using a smothering, trapping press defense to start the third quarter pulled away from the Bulldogs to post a 70-50 win.
Eli Welch led the Bulldogs with 17 points, while the Tigers countered with the one-two punch of Omarion Allred and Devonte Davis, who scored 17 and 16 points.
The Tigers also displayed the talent of their freshman class along with veterans Davis, Allred, and Jaden Hart as they raced around the court forcing turnovers of every type and converting points out of theses turnovers.
“I believe that this is the best freshman class that has ever come through Marshall County High School,” Davis said.
A 14-point run at the start of the third quarter went a long way toward securing the victory for the Tigers.
The Tigers controlled the opening tip and cashed in right away as Davis from the top of the key sank a 3-pointer, then added a 12-foot jumper to put the Tigers ahead, 5-0.
Two free-throws by Bryce Woodard put Cornersville on the board but a 3-pointer by Blake Hardison and an inside basket by Jayden Hart put the Tigers’ lead at eight points, 10-2 with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
Foul trouble began to hamper the Tigers when with two minutes left in the first quarter Cornersville began to shoot one-and-one free throws.
Welch scored inside and on another attempt was fouled and made 1-of-2 to draw the Bulldogs closer, 10-5.
Gage Lovell, Cornersville’s freshman point guard, on a good move inside, penetrated and scored to make the score, 10-7.
Another free throw by Welch drew the Bulldogs closer, 10-8, but Marshall County’s Marcus O’Neal closed out the first quarter with a 3-pointer and a basket to put the Tigers in front, 15-8.
The second quarter began with Blaine Woodard making one of two free throws and Welch scoring down low to make the score 15-11.
Marshall County’s Aja Jones and Cornersville’s Welch traded baskets and Cornersville free-throw shooting brought the Bulldogs back then a nice baseline-move by Davis upped the MCHS lead to nine points 26-17 with three minutes left until halftime.
Cornersville fought back and continued to use the free-throw line to score as Marshall County had now committed 10 fouls in the half and Cornersville was in the double-bonus.
A 3-point bomb by Mason Calahan with one minute left in the half cut the Tigers’ lead to two points.
Free-throws by Jamahl Gentry and Calahan finished the scoring for both teams as Cornersville had closed to within two points, 28-26 at the buzzer to end the first half.
The beginning of the third quarter saw the game turn as the Tigers applied a pressure trapping defense that the Bulldogs found hard to manage.
Inbound passes, errant passes and trapped players with the ball caused numerous turnovers the Tigers converted to points and with three minutes left in the quarter, Marshall County now led 44-30.
Despite a crowd-pleasing dunk by Welch, the Bulldogs could only score by free-throws and at the end of the third quarter the Tigers enjoyed a 15-point lead, 48-33.
The fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs valiantly fighting back but the third quarter run was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
The final eight points were scored by the Tigers as Kenteris Morris, Allred and Ronnie Lyttle, who score nine points in the quarter, made the last baskets for either team as the Tigers rolled to a 70-50 victory over the Cornersville Bulldogs.
“The first half was kind of slow, they (Corrnersville) got us into foul trouble but the second half by trapping and execution in the third quarter turned the game. It shows we can do that. We’ve got to build and get better,” Tiger head coach Lavon King said
“We played more like a team tonight and that made it easier to score. We used our quickness and athleticism,” Davis said.
“They (MCHS) are a talented team. We want to play against teams like that. It will help us know and handle pressure. The run (14 point run by MCHS)at the start of the third quarter was the difference maker,” Bulldogs coach Peyton Newton.
Marshall Co. 15 13 20 22 — 70
Cornersville 8 18 7 17 —50
Marshall Co.: Omarion Allred 17, Devonte Davis 16, Ronnie Lyttle 9, Marcus O’Neal 6, Jamahl Gentry 5, Aja Jones 5, Kinteris Morris 4, Blake Hardison 3, Jayden Hart 3.
Cornersville: Eli Welch 17, Bryce Woodard 8, Gage Lovell 7, Mason Calahan 6, Kaden Allen 4, Khi Canty 2, Blaine Woodard 2, Ben Franklin 3, Wallace Francis 1.
3-Point Goals: Marshall Co. (7): Allred 2, Davis, Gentry, Jones, Hardison, O’Neal; Cornersville (1): Calahan
Free Throws: Marshall Co. (7-12): Gentry 2-for-2, Allred 1-for-2, D. Hart 1-of-2, O’Neal 1-for-2, Davis 2-for-4; Cornersville (20-33): Welch 7-for-10, Lovell 3-of-6, Mason Calahan 3-of-4, Bryce Woodard 4-of-4, Blaine Woodard 1-of-5, Francis 1-of-3, Franklin 1-of-1.
Halftime Score: Marshall Co. 28, Cornersville 26.