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Clark, Cyclones beat 'Toppers at buzzer

November 19th, 2013 10:55 pm by Trey Williams

Elizabethon’s Zeke Clark delivered a beating to buzzers and, eventually, Science Hill.

Clark made a buzzer-beater from 40-plus feet to give the Cyclones a 62-59 victory on Tuesday at Science Hill’s gym.

It capped a 27-point outing for the combo guard, who also got Elizabethton within 43-41 by beating the third-quarter buzzer with a step-back 30-footer.

Clark scored 18 of his 27 in the second half, including 12 in the fourth period. He made two of his four treys in the fourth quarter, the first of which gave the Cyclones a 44-43 lead with 7:46 to play.

But the buzzer-beaters were what had the crowd – buzzing. Clark missed a trey with some six seconds left in regulation, but got the long deflected rebound near the top of the key and Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt called a timeout with 2.6 seconds left. Clark took the inbounds pass and was near midcourt before a dribble or two to his right led to a difficult bomb that touched nothing but net.

Clark missed a potential game-winning trey in a substate loss to Gibbs last year, and has subsequently worked on such shots frequently. 

“I know a lot of my teammates count on me to be there, especially this year being one of the only really leading seniors out there,” Clark said. “I practice a lot on shots like that. … A lot of people out here told us we weren’t gonna beat Science Hill. And the more people that tell us that we can’t do it, the more we want to prove them wrong. …

“Basketball’s a lot about runs, and my team – we were in a steady mind the whole game. We knew that we weren’t gonna lose. We were coming in the Palace and we were gonna leave with a win.”

Elizabethton hadn’t beaten Science Hill since Jason Witten had 26 points, 14 rebounds and four steals in a 71-68 victory during the 1999-2000 season. The teams have played sparingly since 2001-02, and the ‘Toppers entered Tuesday with a six-game wins streak dating back to that season.

Clark’s shot at the end of the third quarter reminded Honeycutt of when Patrick Norman beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter in an Elizabethton victory in ’96.

“I researched this game,” Honeycutt said. “I didn’t know a whole lot about the series. And I looked back and they told me about a ’96 game when, I think, it was Patrick Norman hit a huge shot at the end of the third quarter. And as soon as that went in I was thinking the same thing.”

Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip noted Science Hill missing a box-out that led to Clark’s second chance for a game-winner. He also mentioned Science Hill’s foul shooting (2-8).

The Hilltoppers got 22 points from senior guard Calvin Songster, but he was frustrated by the front end of a one-and-one free throw he missed with the score tied at 59 with 18 seconds left.

Of course, Cutlip credited Clark for being the difference maker.

“He was hungry,” Cutlip said. “He was a fierce competitor tonight. I mean, he wanted the game, and basically, he stepped up and took over the game … and hit big shots after big shots.

“I want to congratulate coach Honeycutt and Elizabethton. This is a great win for their program, and they do a great job. I thought their kids played extremely hard.”

Elizabethton (3-0) also got 21 points from Tyler Nichols, including 13 in the second half. His driving 8-foot bank gave the Cyclones a 50-49 lead with five minutes left, and he drove to his left across the lane for a three-point play that tied the score at 59 with 1:10 remaining.

“It seemed like every time we needed a bucket Tyler didn’t shy away,” Honeycutt said. “He wanted the ball, he took it to the rim and he was really playing with a lot of enthusiasm. … I was proud to see him grow up a little bit tonight, and I think that’s gonna mean a lot for us this season.”

Nichols and Clark will require a lot of attention. Honeycutt said Clark looked at him and told him he “wanted the ball” on the last possession.

“I mean, that was just him (Clark) making a play, but all around it was a team effort,” Honeycutt said. “We had some sophomores on the court that had never seen much action, and to come in and … play at a place like this, it’s huge to see those young guys really do that. …

“A great team – a great program – is what Science Hill is, and we’re trying to build that program here. And this puts us another step in that direction. We’re just excited.”

Post Conley Bowers scored eight points for Elizabethton. His final basket came via a whirling baseline move that got the Cyclones within 49-46 with 5:50 to play.

Science Hill led 15-5 after one period, and still led 43-35 on Blake Begley’s trey with 1:15 to go in the third quarter. But Clark scored 16 of the Cyclones’ 27 the rest of the way.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this particular group of kids not step up and just be able to execute what we needed to in crucial situations,” Cutlip said. “But we’ll work on some of that stuff. We’ll get better, but Elizabethton just did a great job tonight, uh, came into our gym and just, you know, kind of hung in there.”

Posts Daniel Sweeney and Caden Wampler scored seven points each for the Hilltoppers. Malik McGue and Songster each had four assists. Science Hill was without senior point guard Hunter Hensley, who suffered a concussion against Johnson County on Friday.

He could return Friday when Science Hill hosts Daniel Boone. Hensley’s brother Holden is a freshman guard getting playing time for the Trailblazers.

The Cyclones visit Hampton on Tuesday.

– – – 

Earlier report from 10:55 p.m.

Elizabethon’s Zeke Clark delivered a beating to buzzers and, eventually, Science Hill.
Clark made a buzzer-beater from some 45 feet out to give the Cyclones a 62-59 victory on Tuesday at Science Hill’s gym.
It capped a 27-point outing for the combo guard, who also got Elizabethton within 43-41 by beating the third-quarter buzzer with a step-back 30-footer.
Clark scored 18 of his 27 in the second half, including 12 in the fourth period.
“I know a lot of my teammates count on me to be there, especially this year being one of the only really leading seniors out there,” Clark said. “I practice a lot on shots like that. … A lot of people out here told us we weren’t gonna beat Science Hill. And the more people that tell us that we can’t do it, the more we want to prove them wrong.”
Clark missed a three with some six seconds left in regulation, but got the long deflected rebound and Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt called a timeout with 2.6 seconds left. Clark took the inbounds pass and was near midcourt before a dribble or two to his right led to a difficult bomb that touched nothing but net.
Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip noted Science Hill missing a box-out that led to Clark’s second chance. He also noted Science Hill’s foul shooting (2-8).
Science Hill got 22 points from senior guard Calvin Songster, but he was frustrated by the front end of a one-and-one free throw he missed with the score tied at 59 with 18 seconds left. Science Hill was 2 of 8 at the foul line.
But Cutlip noted Clark being the difference.
“He was hungry,” Cutlip said. “He was was fierce competitor tonight. I mean, he wanted the game, and basically, he stepped up and took over the game … and hit big shots after big shots.
“I want to congratulate coach Honeycutt and Elizabethton. This is a great win for their program, and they do a great job. I thought their kids played extremely hard.”
Elizabethton (3-0) also got 21 points from Tyler Nichols.
“I mean, that was just him (Clark) making a play, but all around it was a team effort,” Honeycutt said. “We had some sophomores on the court that had never seen much action, and to come in and … play at a place like this, it’s huge to see those young guys really do that.”

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