Science Hill’s girls basketball team isn’t ready to fade from the statewide spotlight.
The Lady Hilltoppers put together a solid summer camp season, and didn’t do anything to harm their reputation as a state-title threat.
Under new head coach Keith Turner, Science Hill went to a camp at Maryville Heritage and followed that up with a visit to Middle Tennessee State. The overall record was 14-4, and it could have been even better.
The Lady Hilltoppers went 6-3 at Heritage without the services of standout point guard Tianna Tarter, who was hit with a bout of food poisoning prior to the trip. Science Hill’s losses included Knox Bearden and Maryville, which figure to be two of the top teams in the Knoxville area in the 2013-14 season.
The loss to Bearden was only by two points, and the Hilltoppers didn’t have Gabby Lyon, Baylee Head or Melea Fendely for that game.
“It was basically Keisha (Gregory) and the younger girls, and they stepped it up,” said Turner, who takes over a team that finished Class AAA state runner-up in each of the last two seasons. “It was good for us. We know what the older girls can do, and it got the younger ones more experience.”
At MTSU, Science Hill had its full complement of players, and the lone loss came against Murfreesboro Blackman, which Turner said would probably be nationally ranked this season. That loss was also by just two points.
“It was our second game on the second day of camp, and it was their first game of the whole camp,” said Turner. “They are on the same level as (Murfreesboro) Riverdale. They came out very aggressive and jumped on us, but we battled back.”
Science Hill posted wins over teams from Indiana and Alabama, and also beat Class AA power Gibson County.
“It was a good camp,” said Turner.
Tarter and Lyon are currently working on their status as Division I recruits. On Monday, they helped their Nike Elite team win the championship game of a big AAU tournament in Lexington, Ky.
“Those two and Keisha still have tournaments remaining,” said Turner. “July is a hot month for AAU basketball. They’re going to Augusta, Ga., Murfreesboro and then Las Vegas.”
Lyon is getting looks from ETSU, MTSU, Western Carolina and Lipscomb. Tarter is being watched closely by Mississippi, Memphis and Lipscomb.
“Both of them will get other looks if they play the way I think they will play in July,” said Turner.
However, Turner said the Lady Hilltoppers won’t just be a three-player show.
“There were some girls on last year’s team that could have started for a lot of other teams,” said Turner. “They just didn’t get the opportunity because of who was in front of them.”
Included in that mix are Grace Herrin, Fendely and Head.
“Those three will all be seniors, and it gives us a solid six,” said Turner. “And there are a couple of younger girls I really think will be in the mix after that: (sophomores) Hannah Rogers and Abby True. And three underclassmen I think will play are Sidney Whiteside, Allie Foster and Paige Foster.”
Another player in the mix could wind up making some noise. Miracle Aples, a 6-foot-2 junior, is Science Hill’s tallest player.
“She didn’t play last year, but she can move and play defense,” said Turner. “And I think her offensive skills will come.”
Daniel Boone’s football team is hitting the 7-on-7 passing competition pretty enthusiastically this summer.
Head coach Jeremy Jenkins said his team will go a couple of days a week against other area schools, and will play in a camp in Greene County.
“We also do a lot of 7-on-7 stuff against ourselves,” said Jenkins. “And we try to get the middle schools involved with it as well. It’s really taking off, and we’ve used it as a fundraiser.”
Jenkins said he likes 7 on 7 to help the timing between quarterbacks and receivers.
“Defensively it’s hard to go out there and stop them, but we can work on coverage stuff,” said Jenkins. “We just don’t want them to get in bad habits. We’ve really preached that.”
Jenkins said Boone has about 55 players out for football this year, but the best news is a freshman class that contains close to 40 kids.
“That’s the biggest freshman class we’ve had,” he said. “It’s usually 25-28 kids. We hope it’s a good thing.”