It was a pretty big change this summer for Science Hill’s basketball team, but head coach Ken Cutlip saw signs of promise.
Science Hill went 14-4 in a pair of camps despite dealing with a glaring lack of experience.
“The last couple of years we knew we would be good at the beginning of the season,” said Cutlip. “The kids had capped out, and there wasn’t a ton of improvement they could make.”
This year, however, Cutlip said his team should get a lot better than it was this summer.
“This group had a solid summer, but their ceiling is a lot higher,” he said. “We’ve got a long ways to go to be at the level we were the last couple of years.”
Science Hill went 6-3 at Middle Tennessee State University. The Hilltoppers followed it up with an 8-1 effort in Pikeville, Ky.
At MTSU, one of the losses was against two-time defending Class AA state champion Christ Presbyterian Academy. The Lions no longer have Mr. Basketball Jalen Lindsey, who transferred to Huntington (W. Va.) Prep. However, they have plenty of weapons remaining.
“They are still loaded,” said Cutlip. “They were the best team we saw all summer, by far.”
One of the things Science Hill had to look at this summer was the point guard position with Patrick Good’s transfer to David Crockett. It appears Malik McGue will fit into that spot nicely.
“We lost four guys from last year who were main cogs the last two years,” said Cutlip. “Three of them played point guard at some point in their career.
“Malik McGue really stepped up for us. I was impressed with his attitude, and he shot the ball really well. I see him playing some wing, but he did a really good job at the point this summer.”
Another player who performed well in the camps was Calvin Songster.
“He’s our only returning starter, and he had the summer we expected,” said Cutlip.
Cutlip has five seniors, two juniors and five sophomores in the mix. Songster is the only senior with any serious experience.
“When those sophomores understand defensively what we are trying to do in the halfcourt, they have a chance to be really good,” said Cutlip.
Defense is one area Cutlip said was exposed a bit this summer.
“One thing I pride myself on is being really good in man to man,” said Cutlip. “I will make sure we get that taken care of.”
On the positive side, the Hilltoppers played well in late-game situations in Pikeville.
“I thought our kids did a great job making shots and getting stops,” said Cutlip.
Cutlip said Kaden Wampler had a solid summer as did Hunter Hensley. The sophomores in the mix are Peyton Wingate, Noah Charles, Ian Martin, Brendan Coleman, and Xavier Driver.
Also expected to contribute are Andrew Smith, Blake Begley and Aaron Adams.
Elizabethton’s girls are coming off a Class AA state semifinal appearance, and the momentum seemed to carry over to the summer.
After getting off to a slow start with twin standouts Kayla and Kelci Marosites not available, the Lady Cyclones went to MTSU and stood toe to toe with two-time defending Class AAA state champion Murfreesboro Riverdale.
Elizabethton was down by five points with 2:28 left in the game when Kayla Marosites drove to the basket and scored on a layup. However, she was called for a charge, and Riverdale’s Alexa Middleton drained a 3-pointer on the next possession for basically a six-point swing. The Lady Warriors eventually won by nine points.
“The thing that impressed me was the way we competed,” said Lady Cyclones’ head coach Len Dugger.
That was especially true of the twins, who didn’t back down against Middleton — who has committed to play at the University of Tennessee.
“Kelci pulled a quad and was playing on one leg, but those two played extremely well,” said Dugger. “At the start of the game it went: Middleton 3-pointer, Kayla three, Middleton three, and Kelci three.”
Overall this summer, Dugger said he was really impressed with post player Sarah Robinson.
“I felt she had the potential all along,” said Dugger. “She rebounded so well in traffic. That was the surprise. She ran the floor extremely well.”
Dugger said he also got good post efforts from Emily Schubert, Shy Bowers, and Megan Pietrowski. Already loaded at the guard positions, solid post play could make the Lady Cyclones a state tournament threat once again.
“Pietrowski and Schubert both played well in the post, and Sarah Bradley was unreal at the point guard position,” said Dugger.
Miranda Isaacs and Melinda Perry also made good contributions, said Dugger.
The Lady Cyclones were whipped by Morristown West early in the summer without the Marosites. Dugger said the Lady Trojans should have a very good team this season.
Overall, Dugger said he’s looking forward to the 2013-14 season.
“I’m excited about the potential and the possibility of them coming together in January and tournament time and being a really special team,” he said.
Tennessee High chose Preston Roberts as its new head baseball coach Monday. Roberts had been as assistant coach with the Vikings for the last seven years.
In a press release from the school, Roberts said, “I am very humbled and excited to have the opportunity to be the head baseball coach at Tennessee High. The baseball program, as well as the athletic program, has a great tradition of which I am very proud to be a part of. I am very appreciative for this opportunity.”