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Lady ‘Dawgs come up just short in 10-A championship

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 2:25 pm

Photos courtesy of George Warren The Cornersville Lady ‘Dawgs pose with their runner-up plaque following Monday night’s District 10-A championship game against Richland.

CORNERSVILLE — Cornersville coach Hayden McMahon couldn’t have asked for a better effort from his team in Monday night’s District 10-A championship against No. 1 seed Richland.
The Lady ‘Dawgs gave a balanced attack on the offensive end of the court, played a stingy defense, and put themselves in position to win, but in the end, it was Richland’s one-two punch that escaped Cornersville with a 38-36 win.
“I feel like our girls left everything out on the floor. We just came up a bit short. Super proud of all their efforts. We put in a lot of preparation and a lot of other things that go with a good game plan to give us a chance to win. It gave us a shot, but at the end of the day they hit one more bucket than we did,” McMahon said.
Richland had just three players score against the Lady ‘Dawgs, but Bailey Blair and Shelby Higgins combined for 34 or the Lady Raiders’ total 38 points, which was a stark contrast to the balanced approach by Cornersville.
“I think overall, it was a team effort than somebody standing out for our girls. Nobody really outshined anyone,” McMahon said.
Seven total Lady ‘Dawgs scored, with Jayli Childress knocking down eight points to lead the hosts.
Childress led the charge in the opening frame, scoring six of Cornersville’s 11 points, while senior Annabelle Mulliniks knocked down a timely 3-pointer.
Higgins led Richland in the opening frame with a pair of 3-pointers.
While offense wasn’t dominant for either team in the first quarter, both offenses nearly ground to a complete halt in the second frame, with the two teams combining for just 11 total points.
All six of Richland’s points came on a pair of 3-pointers by Katelyn Bass and Bailey Blair, while Abigal Finley added a 3-point of her own for the Lady ‘Dawgs.
Anna Wood added a pair of free throws in the second frame as well.
Cornersville continued its lock-down defense into the second half as well, holding Richland to just a single field goal in the period and retaking the lead by the end of the third after scoring seven more.
Entering the fourth, Cornersville held a 23-21 lead.
Higgins and Blair took over in the fourth and combined for 16 of the Lady Raiders’ total 17 points in the quarter.
Cornersville also put forth its best offensive quarter, knocking down 13 points, but just couldn’t get over the hump to generate enough stops to claim the 10-A championship.
As a team, Cornersville connected on four 3-pointers, with Mulliniks connecting on two.
The Lady ‘Dawgs were also efficient at the free throw line, making good on 10-of-12 tries, while Richland also shot a high percentage for 10-of-14 attempts.
While it didn’t end in a district title for Cornersville, the Lady ‘Dawgs are hungry to continue their postseason march in the Region 5-A tournament, which begins Friday night against former district rival Huntland.
“We just have to get refocused. We can’t dwell on this game. We have to look ahead and get ready for Huntland on Friday night.I think we have a good chance to make a run. We have a good team,” McMahon said.
Huntland enters the region tournament as No. 3 seed, having won the consolation game in District 9-A over Fayetteville City.
“We’ve got to want it more than them. We’ve got to have a good three days of preparation, get some shots to fall for us, and we have to want it more than they (Lady Hornets) do,” McMahon said.
Tip-off between Cornersville and Huntland will be at 7 p.m. Friday evening.

Cornersville 11 5 7 13 — 36
Richland 11 6 4 17 — 38

Earning All-District honors for their efforts in the regular season are (from left) Annabelle Mulliniks, Anna Wood, Jayli Childress and Ady Gentry. In addition to their regular-season honors, Wood and Childress were also named to the All-Tournament team.

Cornersville: Jayli Childress 8, Anna Wood 7, Annabelle Mulliniks 6, Ady Gentry 6, Camille Franklin 4, Abigail Finley 3, Katie Powers 2.
Richland: Bailey Blair 20, Shelby Higgins 14, Katelyn Bass 4.
3-Point goals: Cornersville (4): Mulliniks 2, Wood, Finley; Richland (6): Blair 3, Higgins 2, Bass.
Halftime score: Richland 17, Cornersville 16.