Good followed a 39-point performance in Saturday’s overtime loss to Dobyns-Bennett with a 44-point eruption, and the Pioneers needed every one of them to outlast the Hilltoppers, 71-70, in the consolation game at Viking Hall.
Dobyns-Bennett defeated Tennessee High, 58-42, in the championship game.
Crockett (21-12) will visit Sevier County (20-9) on Saturday at 7 p.m. while Science Hill (20-12) travels to third-ranked Jefferson County (27-4). The Indians will host Morristown West (14-14), and Tennessee High (24-7) will host Cocke County (18-12).
David Crockett would’ve beaten D-B in the semifinals Saturday if not for an overtime-forcing 3-pointer from tournament MVP Makale Foreman at the buzzer.
Crockett was facing a similar situation on Tuesday, and while coach John Good elected not to foul again, the Pioneers’ Luke Hopson did foul Calvin Songster with 1.5 seconds left.
Songster made the first free throw to make it 71-69. But with the ‘Toppers having subbed in 6-foot-8 Andrew Smith and 6-foot-7 Harris Galpin in search of a game-tying stick-back, a high-arching free throw that Songster intended to miss barely moved the net while swishing through to conclude the scoring.
“We weren’t gonna foul,” Crockett coach John Good said. “We fouled accidentally. … The kid fought through the screen and they called the foul there. But we were gonna let ‘em shoot and see.”
Science Hill led 52-44 with 1:04 left in the third quarter after Kaden Wampler got an offensive rebound and kicked out to Songster (25 points) for a 3-pointer.
Crockett’s Jeremy Houston answered with a trey that triggered a 21-5 run which gave the Pioneers a 65-57 lead on Dustin Day’s foul shot with 3:04 remaining.
Good scored 12 points during the run and tallied 17 of his points in the fourth quarter. He finished 16 of 22 at the foul line and he created nearly all of his dozen field goals with the dribble.
Good parlayed a 13-foot transition pull-up in to a three-point play that gave Crockett a 54-52 lead with 6:23 left, and a behind-the-back dribble gave him the space for a 15-footer that made it 64-57 with 3:31 left.
“Patrick Good is an outstanding player,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “He’s one of the best players in our entire state and he’s playing at an extremely high level right now.”
Good, a key player at Science Hill as a freshman last season when his dad was an assistant there, made three of his four 3-pointers in the first half to keep Crockett within striking distance. Science Hill led 36-27 at the half.
“He stepped up,” John Good said. “And I keep saying this, but he gets up in the morning – we were in the gym at six this morning – and he prepares himself. He’d be in there tonight if I let him go tonight. I mean, he’s a worker and he wants it.”
Science Hill’s Songster wanted it, too. He made back-to-back treys to tie the score at 65 with 48.6 seconds left.
“Calvin Songster – he hit big shot after big shot after big shot,” John Good said. “I knew it was gonna go to him (at the end). … We were outside the 3-point line and trying to make them shoot an NBA three.”
Good answered Songster’s treys with a pair of free throws with 43.4 seconds left after getting fouled on a drive. He added four more foul shots in the final 27.3 seconds, including two that gave Crockett a 71-68 lead with 5.9 seconds remaining.
“When we dropped the game against D-B on Saturday, I just knew I had to find a way to get my team a win,” Patrick Good said. “We just knocked down free throws and shots at the end of the game, and it really helped us. … When Houston hit that three in the corner we really needed that one, because that gave us a boost. … He knocked it down for us and it gave us the energy just to keep fighting.”
Science Hill took a timeout after Good’s final two free throws and set up a play to advance the ball into the front-court before calling another timeout. Songster caught a pass around half-court and dribbled right before cutting back toward the middle of the court while reacting to Patrick Good reaching for the ball near the Science Hill bench.
It appeared Good was trying to foul after the way the Pioneers lost on Saturday, but that wasn’t the case.
“I was trying to make him change direction,” Patrick Good said, “so it’d waste a little bit of time.”
Science Hill has been snake-bitten in the endgame lately while losing three of its last four in overtime, and that was the case Tuesday. Cutlip was signaling for a timeout just as Songster separated himself from Good for what looked like it’d be a clean, straight-on look from the top of the key.
Instead, Science Hill had an inbounds play to make from near its bench with 3.4 seconds. Cutlip designed a catch-and-shoot for Songster, who couldn’t launch on the catch and was fouled while trying to create a shot opportunity.
“After the other night we told our kids, ‘Expect them to foul,’” Cutlip said. “We got the ball up to the half line and I wanted to get a timeout before they fouled. They allowed us to get that. And then we ran a play out of bounds and it was supposed to be a catch-and-shoot play, so that if they foul you they’re gonna foul a shooter. And that’s the scary part of this whole situation. He was deep, but he’d made a deep and tough one before. …
“One shot in each of those three (recent) losses and we’re sitting here with a five-game winning streak. You execute one play at some point each game … and it’s a whole different world out there.”
Dustin Day scored 11 points for Crockett. The Pioneers isolated him early for back-to-back baskets that cut a nine-point deficit to 25-20.
Luke Hopson opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer – via an assist from Good – that cut Crockett’s deficit to 52-51.
“We had a talk with him at halftime to shoot the ball,” John Good said. “He’s been hesitant.”
Science Hill finished with 22 turnovers.
“In the first half … we’re up eight to 10 and we should’ve been up 16 or 18,” Cutlip said. “But unforced turnovers – you make 22 turnovers this time of year, you know, you’re not going to win. It’s a miracle we had a chance to win.”
Songster, a senior, finished with four 3-pointers, as did sophomore wing Peyton Wingate, who scored 13 of his 18 in the first half. Junior point guard Malik McGue also scored 18 points for the Hilltoppers.
It was the second straight win for Crockett in a series that’s become heated. The intensity level resembled that of the ensuing championship game.
“Both teams played hard,” John Good said. “Coach Cutlip – he does a great job. I mean, he’s done a heck of a job with his team this year. They compete and they get out there and get after it.
“We knew it was gonna be like this. I knew it wasn’t how they beat us at their place (74-65) or how we beat them at our place (60-41). I told our guys it was gonna be a fight, and it was. … And I tell you what the best thing about this is: we can’t end each other’s season. If we meet again it’ll be in the regional final and then we go to the substate (regardless).”
Foreman, a junior combo guard, made six treys and scored 23 point for D-B, which won its first district title since 2008.
Science Hill had won the past three district tournaments and four of the last five. Daniel Boone beat Science Hill 55-52 in the district semis in 2010 before beating Dobyns-Bennett 57-54 in the title game.
The Indians led Tennessee High 26-21 at the half. Foreman made three 3-pointers while the Indians outscored the Vikings 21-12 in the third quarter.
“He got off to a slow start shooting the ball this year,” D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “But he’s come on. … I liked when he back-to-back threes, and again, when your team is knocking down shots ... this group plays that much harder.”
Dobyns-Bennett opened the second half on a 12-1 run. It included a basket by Paul Gadson on a fast-break John Fulkerson started with a blocked shot, another interior basket from Gadson on a lob from Foreman and a 3-pointer off the dribble by Foreman which capped the run.
The 6-foot-7 Fulkerson’s short step-through left-handed leaner in the lane gave D-B a 45-30 lead with 57 seconds left in the third quarter and Devin Stuart’s transition follow after a steal from Cason Byrd stretched the advantage to 17 some 20 seconds later.
“We came out in that third quarter and really stepped it up a notch,” Morgan said. “And I’ve seen us do that a couple of times this year. It’s a thing of a beauty. … I’m really proud of how hard the guys played tonight. They played together as a team. ... Tennessee High does a great job of running their offense, so we had to do a good job of communicating and helping one another out.”
Tyleke Love’s three-point play via a whirling baseline drive seemed to seal it at 55-41 with 2:03 left.
“Looking back, at one time we were 6-8 and not playing very well, losing close ballgames,” Morgan said. “I had a flashback there just for a second. We had a 17-point lead here earlier in the year (in a loss) and we had a 15-point lead (tonight) and I said, ‘Oh, here we go.’”
The 6-foot-4 Love and the 6-foot-4 230-pound Gadson each scored 10 points. Fulkerson and Stuart added eight and seven, respectively.
Guard Caleb Easterling, who forced overtime against Science Hill with a last-second 3-pointer in the Saturday’s semifinals, led the Vikings with 14 points. Ten of those were in the first half – before Love volunteered to guard him.
“Easterling had 10 of their (21) points,” Morgan said, “and Tyleke said, ‘Coach, let me guard him.’ I said, ‘Hey, how many fouls does Tyleke have?’ He had one foul in the first half. Normally he’s in foul trouble early. And he went out and I thought that was the difference in the game, because I think Easterling may’ve had four points in the second half. …
“I’m just really, really happy for the players, because they’ve hung in there. You know, there’s been some naysayers and people have given us a hard time. … I try to stay positive and I want my kids to be mentally tough, and I thought these guys blocked out a lot of that stuff through the year and just hung together as a team and believed in one another.”