Science Hill’s streak flashed before its eyes Thursday at Science Hill.
But the Hilltoppers dodged a long-range Dobyns-Bennett bullet and concluded the Big Eight Conference regular season undefeated.
After D-B outscored the 'Toppers 10-2 to tie the score at 60, it felt like Indians guard Mykale Foreman’s running 45-footer would go in to win at the fourth-quarter buzzer.
But Foreman’s shot hit off the back left of the iron, and Science Hill (14-0, 30-2) escaped 72-64 in overtime.
The Lady 'Toppers also finished the regular season with an unbeaten league record. Tianna Tarter scored 20 of her 28 points in the first half before missing a quarter with a left ankle ailment, and Science Hill (14-0, 25-3) pulled away from scrappy D-B for a 73-48 victory.
C.J. Good (18 points) made a 3-pointer from the right corner to open the scoring in overtime, and his brother Patrick (11 points) made a trey to stretch the lead to 66-60 with 2:05 left in OT.
From there, Will Adams (21 points) made all four of his free throw attempts and Reed Hayes (12 points) made both of his as the Hilltoppers’ streaks remained intact.
The Lady 'Toppers have won 39 straight league games in the regular season, and the boys have now won 55 straight. It was also the boys' 13th straight victory against the Indians.
C.J. Good said he didn’t allow himself to consider the streak ending until Foreman’s shot was sailing halfway across the court with a dagger-like descent.
“Oh my gosh, I had a feeling that was going in,” Good said. “I’m just glad it didn’t because I knew in overtime we would pick it up a little bit. … We ended up with the streak going and we left it for the rest of the people to keep it going.”
Science Hill drained a lot of clock in the final quarter, and determined D-B (10-4, 18-7) reeled in the Hilltoppers with a size advantage and clutch shooting from Foreman. He made a driving scoop to get D-B within 58-52 with 2:25 left and his trey from the left corner made the score 60-58 with 46 seconds remaining.
After Science Hill’s third turnover in the endgame, Connor Mitchell fed fellow post John Fulkerson for an interior basket that tied the score with 19.8 seconds left.
Will Adams' driving shot at the rim was too strong with some three seconds remaining, and Foreman was able to get an outlet and long attempt at the horn.
“I’m really proud of how our guys played,” D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “We’re down by 11 here at halftime and came back and just kept battling. That’s what we wanted out of our ballclub, and we were right there. I thought that the shot Mykale let go there was gonna hit nothing but the bottom.”
Ken Cutlip was pleased with how his team responded to adversity, even though some of it was self-inflicted. It was D-B’s third straight overtime loss.
“I knew Dobyns-Bennett would respond,” Cutlip said. “They had lost two games in overtime coming into tonight. They’ve been in that situation. We hadn’t seen that situation in a long time, and I think that showed a little bit in the decisions we made. But I’m extremely proud of our kids with the way they responded in overtime with all the pressure, trying to close out the regular season (undefeated) in the conference against an outstanding ballclub.
“That’s a tough situation to be in. Coming into this game we’re supposed to win, and you don’t close it in regulation. We did some things that were uncharacteristic at the end of regulation that gave them hope, and then they took advantage of it and were able to force overtime.”
Foreman had 16 points to lead D-B. Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored 15, and Fulkerson and Thomas Palmer added 10 apiece.
Science Hill’s girls got a scare, and not necessarily because D-B was within 31-25 with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
Tarter left the game after staying down on the court a long time late in the second quarter, but returned to the gym late in the third period. She said she sprained her left ankle slipping.
Icing the ankle perhaps 20 minutes didn’t cool her jets. Less that two minutes after her return, she got a steal and a free throw opportunity in transition. She made both foul shots for a 49-35 lead with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter she got two more free throws via a fast-break chance created by her steal. She also had a driving basket and a her fourth 3-pointer of the night in the fourth quarter.
Science Hill also got double-figure scoring from Enjelica Reid (14 points) and Shy Copney (10), who made two 3-pointers in the third period and did all of her scoring after halftime. Copney’s 14-foot step-back gave Science Hill a 51-37 lead at the end of the third quarter, and she parlayed a steal into a 10-footer she made while falling backward to the court for a 57-38 lead with 5:49 remaining in the game.
“I thought our kids did a good job of just keeping their composure,” Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said. “I mean they played hard. D-B’s kids played extremely hard. They probably outrebounded us (32-17 unoffically)… and they got a lot of offensive rebounds and that put us in some bad positions where we fouled. They shot 25 free throws; we shot nine. A lot of that was just because we’re in bad positions either on offensive rebounds or just not in good position defensively.
“It’s been a long week emotionally, physically – and it’s not over. We’ve got a road trip tomorrow night. I’m proud of our kids. I think D-B played well. I think we played pretty well.”
Lady Indians point guard Sasha Morrissette scored 24 points, had seven steals and went to the court hard probably 7-8 times.
“I thought we executed and Sasha made some great plays,” D-B coach Roger France said. “First half we got the loose balls, battled and played awful well. In the third quarter we got in a hurry … and we allowed them to get transition baskets. And unfortunately, we only played five players in the second half, and at the end we just ran out of steam. I think we got a lot to build on for next week (in the district tournament).
“I thought we did an awfully good job. It was a scary moment when they got out on us 9-0. And we kind of crawled back and took some time off the clock, used some patience and slowed the game down a little bit.”
Madi Kilby made three treys en route to 11 points for D-B (8-6, 18-9).
Science Hill’s boys and girls visit Greeneville tonight.