A good finish to the first half helped Science Hill defeat a determined Sullivan South in a District 1-AAA semifinal Saturday night.
Science Hill ended the half on a 9-0 run thanks to two 3-pointers from senior C.J. Good and another from his brother, freshman Patrick Good, and the top-seeded Hilltoppers pulled away for a 68-47 victory at Snyder Gym in Gray.
Science Hill (33-2) advances to Tuesday’s championship against second-seeded Dobyns-Bennett (20-7), which outlasted host Daniel Boone in Saturday’s opener.
Boone (20-9) plays South (14-16) on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the consolation game.
Science Hill and D-B secured first-round home games in the Region 1-AAA tournament.
The Hilltoppers got 18 points from C.J. Good and 16 points and 10 rebounds from senior post Marc Aples. Senior guard Will Adams made three 3-pointers en route to 13 points, and got three of his six assists on the Goods’ flurry of treys at the end of the half.
Patrick Good’s 3-pointer from the right wing gave Science Hill a 34-22 halftime lead.
“That was probably the difference in the game, getting those three threes right there,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “We had a couple of kids sitting on the bench with two fouls and we get those three threes. That gets us separation and we come out of the half and Will Adams sticks another one. You get the cushion and it allows us to kind of control the game.”
A transition basket by Reed Hayes (13 points) on an assist from Calvin Songster gave the ‘Toppers a 39-23 lead with 5:20 left in the third quarter. South answered with an 8-0 run to get within eight points on post Christian Comsa’s 12-foot baseline jumper with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
But Hayes responded with a put-back, and Aples followed with three straight field goals, including a 15-footer which stretched the lead to 47-33 some 70 seconds after South had cut the lead to single digits.
“Just an outstanding job (by Aples),” Cutlip said. “He took good shots, played smart. He kept his emotions in check. I think that’s important this time of year.”
South was led by guard Michael Harr’s 15 points. Ryan Headrick and Evan Headrick added 11 and eight, respectively, for a Rebels team that clearly came out in a good frame of mind after suffering two blowout losses against Science Hill in the regular season.
“Something we preached all week is just believe that you can play,” South coach Mark Pendleton said. “But that’s easier said than done when you get beat 40 both times by them. But I thought we competed and we believed that we belonged on the court with them. Their 9-0 run to end the second quarter was a dagger.”
Daniel Boone 60
The Indians overcame 33 points from Ryan Gaitor and the foul trouble of 6-foot-7 post Connor Mitchell and 6-foot-4 wing Andrel “A.J.” Anderson.
Second- and third-chance points did in Boone, which was outrebounded 22-3 on the offensive glass.
Jake Littleton’s steal and stuff cut D-B’s lead to 56-55 with 2:50 remaining. That was the score until a transition lay-in by the Indians’ Thomas Palmer (17 points) with 1:18 left. Sophomore point guard Mykale Foreman (15 points) made the score 60-55 with 53 seconds left on a pair of free throws and the Trailblazers could get no closer than five the rest of the way.
Mitchell scored 16 points despite sitting the final 9 1/2 minutes of the first half with two fouls and fouling out with 3:09 remaining. One of his fouls was a technical that came with 5:09 left in the game.
D-B made 10 of 14 foul shots in the fourth quarter. Foreman finished the game 7 of 8 at the line.
“Overall, I thought our guys played really well down the stretch and didn’t turn the ball over but maybe one time there when they trapped us,” Dobyns-Bennett coach Charlie Morgan said. “But the big thing was making those free throws (late).”
Gaitor made 12 of 19 field goals, including a dunk, and grabbed eight rebounds.
“Gaitor’s a handful,” Morgan said. “He’s a super player and we did everything we could to try to contain him, but we couldn’t contain him.”
Boone coach Ryan Arnold would’ve liked to have gotten a whistle on a couple of late drives – an abundance of questionable calls hurt both teams – but he said not boxing out proved fatal for his ‘Blazers.
“They killed us on the boards,” Arnold said. “Foreman hit a couple of threes in the corner (early in the third quarter) when our guy didn’t get out there, and they got a couple of offensive boards. The bad thing about zone (defense) is you don’t know who’s responsible for it.”
Littleton scored nine points and Jordan Stout added eight for Boone, which cut an eight-point deficit to one in the fourth quarter.
“We battled back,” Arnold said. “The kids played hard. … It was an intense game. And Coach Morgan does a great job and D-B played hard. It’s really a shame somebody has to lose.”