C.J. Good and the Science Hill Hilltoppers tripled their pleasure against Dobyns-Bennett in the District 1-AAA championship.
Good made 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range en route to a career-high 31 points and Science Hill (34-2) claimed its third straight district title with a 70-55 defeat of Dobyns-Bennett at Snyder Gym in Gray.
The Indians (20-8), which have now lost 14 straight in the series, took Science Hill to overtime 12 days earlier, and led 26-25 at halftime after 6-foot-7 Connor Mitchell roused the D-B fans with a slam-dunk follow.
“They had a whole lot of momentum and the fans were (loud),” said Good, who also tallied three steals and won the tournament MVP trophy. “We kind of needed halftime. Usually, we don’t really like going into halftime, but needed halftime to adjust and get our legs back. … We turned up the defensive pressure and we kind of stopped them when we needed to.”
Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip spent several seconds searching for words to do Good’s performance justice.
“It’s hard to describe, I mean, the impact C.J. has on the game,” Cutlip said. “He really shot the ball with confidence tonight and he shot it well. I thought we did a great job of finding him and getting him clean looks, and then he knocked those down.”
Guard Thomas Palmer (nine points) gave D-B it’s last lead – 29-27 with 6:54 left in the third quarter – on a 3-pointer via an assist from Andrel “A.J.” Anderson (10 points).
Science Hill post Marc Aples (six points, seven rebounds) answered with a put-back and fellow senior Will Adams (16 points, five assists, three steals) followed with a driving leaner and one of his two treys for a 34-29 lead with 4:34 left in the period.
Reed Hayes (nine points, six rebounds) capped the 8-0 run with a trey on an assist from freshman point guard Patrick Good (six assists, five steals) 15 seconds later, and Science Hill’s margin was at least six points the rest of the way.
“The bottom line is Science Hill’s a very good team, and they’re a very good veteran team, as you saw out there,” D-B coach Charlie Morgan said. “Hey, they knew who to go to and they knew what to do in tough situations. …
“C.J.’s a heck of a ballplayer. … There’s a couple of times he got just a little bit of room and he let it go. You know, just a fantastic shooter.”
Cutlip was pleased with his team’s performance, particularly in the second half.
“I thought our defensive pressure was much better the second half,” Cutlip said. “We got a lot more steals; that generated transition baskets, and some of those were open threes from the perimeter.”
Cutlip detected some tightness in his players during two regular-season meetings with the Indians.
“I really feel like the last couple of ballgames (against D-B) we’ve played like there was pressure on us,” he said. “And I even felt like there in the first half we kind of played that way – just not as sharp. I thought the second half our kids just went for broke, and we just played.”
Sophomore point guard Makale Foreman scored a team-high 12 points for D-B. Mitchell and reserve guard Trey Kincaid scored eight apiece.
Science Hill will host South-Doyle on Saturday in the first round of the region. Regional play returns to Daniel Boone for the semifinal and championship rounds.