After playing some of the nation’s best teams while going 4-2 in Murfreesboro and Naples, Fla., Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell was somewhat concerned about a letdown when his Lady Hilltoppers returned to Big Eight Conference action at home on Friday against Daniel Boone.
He was also without starting senior wing Shy Copney. The Middle Tennessee signee is visiting her mother in Charlotte.
As it turned out, the Lady Trailblazers had the only pressing concerns.
Junior post Gabby Lyon scored 13 of her 15 points and senior forward Enjelica Reid scored 12 of her 14 while Science Hill built a 40-10 halftime lead and it cruised to a 68-25 victory.
Senior wing Morgan Knack (12) and junior point guard Tianna Tarter (11) also scored in double figures for the Lady Hilltoppers (5-0, 15-2), who have won 30 straight regular-season league games.
“We played six games in nine days, and played against six really good teams,” Barnwell said. “And then we had a break there … and you always wonder about how sharp you’re gonna come back. … I was really pleased with the intensity defensively, and then offensively, I just thought we executed real well. We had stretches where we moved the ball well in transition or in the half-court.”
The fast-break ball movement included Shae Smith beating the third-quarter buzzer with a lay-in via a pass from Emanda Reid, and Enjelica Reid’s transition basket early in the fourth quarter after a steal and crowd-pleasing pass from Smith.
“They’re very talented,” first-year Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains said. “It felt like we were playing against ETSU or somebody. They’re kids are very skilled and played hard.”
Boone actually ended the game on an 8-0 run in the final 1:45. Baylee Head’s 3-pointer on an assist from Emanda Reid made the score 68-17 with 4:00 left.
“Our kids came out a little intimidated,” Mains said. “Several of our kids competed hard … but we just didn’t get any better tonight. There’s always tomorrow, though.”
Courtney Vazquez made two 3-pointers for a team-high six points for Boone (1-4, 9-8), which visits David Crockett on Tuesday.
Science Hill visits Sullivan Central on Tuesday, quite a contrast from the previous road trips that included games against nationally ranked Riverdale, McDonogh (Md.), North Gwinnett and Whitney Young (Chicago).
Science Hill lost 89-70 at Riverdale and 62-52 to eventual Naples champion North Gwinnett. Tarter was in foul trouble most of the game and eventually fouled out against press-happy Riverdale.
Barnwell said the best win on the trip probably came against Linnae Harper-led Whitney Young. Science Hill built a 40-24 lead and held on for a 60-57 victory in the consolation bracket in Naples.
“Linnae Harper from Whitney Young may be the best player I’ve ever seen, as far as just, you know, being able to play and do everything,” Barnwell said. “I mean, she knew what she needed to do to help her team, and obviously she scored 35 points. But we just did a good job with everybody else and tried to keep the game in check. And offensively, we did a really good job.
“You’re talking about playing one of the best teams in Maryland, the second- or third-best team in the state of California (Troy), the No. 1 team out of Georgia and the No. 1 team out of Illinois. I mean, you can’t ask for stiffer competition than that.”
Science Hill is now No. 13 in CBS MaxPreps and No. 17 in ESPN’s poll.