By Erik Harris
North Jefferson News
CORNER — Carbon Hill advanced to 5-1 in Class 4A Area 8 play, after downing a lackluster Corner team 50-39.
An eager was quickly silenced by the play of their Jackets, who misfired on all seven shots taken in the opening quarter to bury themselves in a 11-0 hole early.
“We just didn’t play, we didn’t play at all tonight,” said a frustrated Corner coach Billy Conner.
Brandon Smith led the Bulldogs with a solid 7-point first quarter. He finished with 21 points for the game.
Corner did pick their game up in the second period, and claimed a 16-15 advantage at the half.
“I just asked them to play with a little pride — it’s embarrassing when you don’t score in the first quarter,” said Conner.
The Jackets would be haunted by unenthusiastic play throughout the second half as well. As a result, Carbon Hill quickly reclaimed the lead, padded it and stretched their lead in the final quarter.
Austin Sanford, who earlier in the week recorded a 37-point performance against Curry, struggled early in Friday’s contest. His presence was barely known through the first quarter, as he took only one shot, recorded no rebounds and failed to score.
“[Sanford] was lazy at the beginning of the game,” said Conner. “He did start picking it up later on, but they did a good job of defending us.”
Sanford, like the rest of the team, took the floor for the second period with a bit more fire. He came to life and fueled Corner’s second quarter comeback. Sanford ended the game with 21 points and four rebounds.
But offense was hard to come by for the Jackets. Senior Blake Byrd went 2-for-6 from behind the arc while finishing with eight points and six boards. As a team, Corner found success on only three of their 11 attempts from 3-point land (27 percent).
The biggest positive for the Jackets was their free throw shooting. They connected on more foul shots than Carbon Hill attempted. Corner shot 67 percent from the stripe (12-of-18) while the Bulldogs made only four of their 11 opportunities.
The Jackets face Fultondale in Tuesday’s first round of the Jefferson County Schools Tournament small-school division at Hueytown.