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Woodard’s 3 wins it for ‘Dawgs at buzzer

Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 10:15 pm

Post Photos by Chris Siers Blaine Woodard takes aim and drills the game-winning 3-pointer on Monday night against Culleoka.

Cornersville coach Dakota Brown and the Bulldogs’ bench erupt in celebration following Woodard’s game-winner.

CORNERSVILLE — During the first half of Monday nights’ final District 10-A game of the season, the Cornersville Bulldogs simply couldn’t buy a shot in the first half.
When the ‘Dawgs settled in during the second half and were able to improve their shot selection, little-by-little Cornersville was able to chip into the Culleoka lead.
With the score tied at 45, and the ‘Dawgs holding until the final possession, it was senior Blaine Woodard who swished the nylon in the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Cornersville to the 48-45 win over Culleoka.
“He’s been struggling, struggling and struggling. He needed that to build some confidence. I’m hoping, going forward as we get to the tournament, he’ll have that confidence going in,” Bulldog coach Dakota Brown said.
It was a frantic comeback by the Bulldogs, who created extra possessions of Warrior turnovers, coupled with timely shots throughout the lineup.
Late in the fourth, senior Ben Franklin came up with a steal and charged the basket for the go-ahead basket, but the layup missed.
Woodard trailed the shot and hit the put-back to put Cornersville up 45-43 with just over a minute left.
Culleoka’s Kasen Hoffman drew a foul shortly after and connected on both free throws to tie the game at 45 with a minute left.
Throughout the duration of the final minute, Cornersville held possession, not giving Culleoka a chance at the last shot.
Instead, the ball eventually fell into the hands of Woodard on the wing, who drilled the game-winner to give the Bulldogs their second-straight win and third district victory in the last four games.
“We quit forcing as much and took better shots and they started falling in the second half. I told them at halftime that we were going to get back in it by playing good defense, but we’re also going to have to make some shots and we did,” Brown said.
Things looked grim throughout the first half as Culleoka built a comfortable 24-11 lead by halftime.
But in the third, Cornersville was able to keep the Warrior defense honest, with Gage Lovell scoring at multiple levels and the ‘Dawgs connecting on three 3-pointers.
During the fourth, it was all Cornersville as the Bulldogs scrapped together 22 points, with Woodard accounting for eight, including two 3-pointers, to complete the comeback.
“I was pretty upset at halftime. I felt like we couldn’t buy a bucket. We were forcing a lot of things and couldn’t get the ball inside like I wanted to. The way we came out in the second half—that’s the team I’ve got to see going forward,” Brown said.
Culleoka was able to get to the line effectively, but managed just 9-of-16 attempts, while Cornersville, interestingly enough, did not attempt a single free throw in the win.
Lovell led all scorers with 19 points, while Woodard also hit double digits and finished with 11.
Jeffrey Pearce led the Warriors with 12.
With the win and perhaps a little momentum on their side, Brown says he feels the win can springboard the Bulldogs into the 10-A tournament next week, where the like No. 1 or No. 2 seed await.
“I feel like we’ve got ourselves in a decent situation going towards the tournament. We definitely need the momentum going in. We’re probably going to get the one seed or the two seed out of our district,” he said.

Cornersville 5 6 15 22 — 48
Culleoka 15 9 13 8 — 45

Cornersville: Gage Lovell 19, Blaine Woodard 11, Ben Franklin 8, Christian Finney 6, Ayden Campbell 2, Hayden Grover 2.
Culleoka: Jeffrey Pearce 12, Dalton Owens 11, Bob Holt 8, Kasen Hoffman 7, Eli Hardison 4, Ethan Richardson 3.
3-Point goals: Cornersville (8): Lovell 3, Woodard 3, Finney 2; Culleoka (4): Pearce 3, Owens.
Halftime score: Culleoka 24, Cornersville 11.