Threes were wild as Science Hill dealt Tennessee High another loss, this time in the girls’ District 1-AAA championship game Tuesday night at Snyder Gym in Gray.
Senior shooting guard Morgan Knack made five of the Lady Hilltoppers’ 11 3-pointers, helping Science Hill beat the Lady Vikings for the third straight time this season en route to a third consecutive district title.
The Vikings (24-5) trailed by 10 at halftime and Science Hill (29-3) lost key reserve combo guard Keisha Gregory in the first half to a left ankle injury, but Knack scored 19 of her career-high 23 points in the second half and the nationally ranked Lady ‘Toppers (No. 11 CBS MaxPreps) erupted for an 84-43 victory.
It was a good sign for Science Hill when junior point guard Tianna Tarter found Knack with a skip pass for a 3-pointer which opened the second half’s scoring. Knack made three treys in the quarter and two more in the fourth – five in the 13-minute span.
“Morgan’s a good shooter,” Tarter said, “and she just was on fire.”
Tarter made three 3-pointers and scored 11 of her 13 in the first half. She was the tournament MVP.
“I didn’t think I was gonna get it,” Tarter said. “I didn’t play as good as I thought I could. I think Morgan or one of my other teammates deserved it.”
Senior wing Shy Copney, a Middle Tennessee State signee, also made three treys and scored 18 points.
“Our kids are really starting to play well,” Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said. “I mean, we’ve played well during the season, but I think they’re really starting to play better. For example, Shy Copney’s started to really exert and play a lot better than she had been. I think she just feels more comfortable now.”
Senior forward Enjelica Reid added 15 points and junior post Gabby Lyon had nine points and four blocked shots.
Tennessee High point guard Ashlee Mitchell, a VCU signee scored 15 points. Ashley Byrd added 13 for the Lady Vikings, who opened the game on a 17-1 run before losing 65-57 in the teams’ previous meeting in Bristol last month.
“I don’t think any of us expected to be that big of a margin,” Knack said. “Especially after the last game, we wanted to make sure we sent a message.”
Knack made more 3-point field goals in the second half (five) than Tennessee High’s total field goal total (four).
“We got off to a sluggish start, but I thought in the second half we just got back in a stance,” Barnwell said. “They hit four shots (from the field) in the second half. … So I was just pleased with our total defensive effort the entire second half.”
Science Hill hosts Sevier County in a regional opener on Friday. Barnwell said Gregory, who made 6 of 7 3-point attempts in the Science Hill’s home win against the Lady Vikings this season, would probably miss Friday’s game, but preliminary indications were that she might return next week, assuming Science Hill avoids a historic upset.
Tennessee High will host Morristown East on Friday.