After a three-week break from conference play, C.J. Good and the Science Hill Hilltoppers picked up right where they left off.
Good made four of his five 3-pointers while helping the ‘Toppers build a double-digit lead in the first quarter and visiting Daniel Boone never recovered.
The 80-62 victory was Science Hill’s 46th straight Big Eight Conference regular-season win. Good and fellow senior guard Will Adams each scored 18 points for the Hilltoppers (5-0, 21-2), who led 40-24 at halftime and by at least 17 points for the final 13 1/2 minutes.
Adams and Calvin Songster (17 points) each made a 3-pointer in the first quarter, when Science Hill made six of its 11 treys.
“I thought we came out with great effort and knocked down some shots,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “I thought we were real active on the defensive end there in the first half. … I didn’t think we had quite the same defensive intensity (in the second half). We weren’t able to generate the turnovers like we did and … we forced 10 turnovers the first half and only forced five the second half.”
Unfortunately, for Boone (2-3, 12-6), the second half seemed like “garbage time.” Hard-driving southpaw guard Ryan Gaitor (21 points) and determined Jacob Littleton (23) each got the majority of their points on the interior, but the best Boone ever seemed to be doing was essentially trading baskets.
“They do a great job scoring (in transition after your made baskets),” Boone coach Ryan Arnold said. “It was a track meet there for a while. We just got behind early and we never could get back over the hump.
“No matter how hard you practice, no matter how perfect you are, mistakes are made. That’s basketball. And the problem with Science Hill is when you make a mistake they capitalize. Every time we made a mistake they capitalized someway, somehow. Losing C.J. off a screen where we should’ve done a better job, loose ball, missed offensive board – they always capitalize on your mistakes, and that’s what makes them so tough.”
Good had four steals and four assists. Senior forward Marc Aples had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“I thought we did a really good job on the boards,” Cutlip said. “Marc Aples stepped up huge for us rebounding the ball, and that’s something we’ve been trying to focus on.”
There was a statistical rarity: Science Hill committed more turnovers (16) than it forced (15).
“The thing most disappointing is we just didn’t handle the ball as well as we had handled the basketball (recently) ,” Cutlip said. “Over the last four games we’ve turned it over less than 10 a game. … I thought Boone did a good job of just continuing to battle back. We had opportunities to really open the game up and they just continued to battle back each time.”
Hilltoppers freshman point guard Patrick Good had eight assists.
Arnold was pleased with the sustained intensity of his players, particularly Gaitor and Littleton down the stretch.
“Jacob’s a hard worker and he’s a winner,” Arnold said. “He drives in there and he goes with a purpose. He does a very good job at completing , and he only gets better at finishing as the year goes on and he gets football out of him.
“Ryan’s competing right now. He’s really focused. He’s one of the better players in the area, you know, when he’s focused and playing basketball like he can. I thought he played extremely hard tonight, didn’t get frustrated. He led the team very well. He’s been in these heated battles and he wants to be in some down the stretch this year.”
Boone visits David Crockett on Tuesday, and Science Hill will travel to Sullivan Central.