The Lady Hilltoppers used an early third-quarter surge as the impetus for a 49-36 win over scrappy Hampton in the Triten Insurance Thanksgiving tournament at The Dyer Dome on Tuesday.
“We did a great job defensively, especially in the second half,” said Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley. “The kids did a really good job and held them to 15 points.”
Despite playing without two starters and another player who is in the normal rotation, Science Hill improved to 3-0. It was the official season opener after a pair of Hall of Champions victories.
Hampton remained winless, dropping to 0-4.
Science Hill jumped all over Hampton with a 13-1 run to start the game. It looked like the Lady Bulldogs were in for a long afternoon.
However, Hampton got a trey from Brooke Hughes to stem the tide and eventually closed within 14-8 at the end of the first period. A late second-quarter flurry propelled the Lady ’Dogs to a 21-20 halftime lead.
For Science Hill, the first half wasn’t pretty to watch.
“We’re still searching for lineups to put on the floor,” said Whaley. “We played all 11 kids. It’s early in the season, and it was a little bit ugly. The offense is trying to find an identity.”
Alasia Smith’s impact
Science Hill was led in scoring by Smith, who finished with 12 points on various strong moves to the basket.
She said the Hilltoppers didn’t take command of the game.
“I feel like every time we got a lead, we got comfortable,” said Smith. “We ended up having to come back after halftime and stepping it up a little bit.”
The secret to success was teamwork.
“Playing hard and working as a team,” said Smith. “It was the whole team coming together to win this game.”
Hampton’s bright spots
Lady Bulldogs’ head coach Bud Hazelwood has challenged his team by scheduling Sullivan East, Dobyns-Bennett, Sullivan Central and Science Hill out of the gates.
Underdogs in all of those matchups, Hampton showed plenty of spirit by leading the Hilltoppers at the half.
Shyanne Tuelle led the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points.