KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett was constantly working in the paint on Tuesday, but left no streaks.
Paul Gadson, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior post, scored 24 points, and 6-foot-4 Tyleke Love (11 points) and 6-foot-7 John Fulkerson (eight points, three blocks) also imposed their will in the lane as the Indians snapped a 15-game losing streak to Science Hill with a 67-42 victory at the Buck Van Huss Dome on Friday.
The win put Charlie Morgan’s Indians (6-2, 11-8), who lost 57-53 at Science Hill last month, in a first-place tie with the Hilltoppers(6-2, 16-8) in the Big Seven Conference. Tennessee High (5-2, 15-5) also has two losses in the league.
“Science Hill and D-B’s been going at it for years and I know the streaks and all that,” Morgan said. “But we didn’t talk to the kids about that. I just told them, ‘I want you guys to go out and play relaxed and do the things you’ve been working on in practice and all that other stuff will take care of itself.’ And it is a good win for our program because it is our number one rival.”
Skilled and strong, Gadson scored repeatedly via interior passes from Love and guard Makale Foreman after their dribble penetration.
“Those guys have played a lot of ball together, a lot off AAU teams, and they look for one another real well and … they trust one another,” Morgan said. “And that’s what you’ve gotta have to be good passers. And that interior passing was a thing of beauty there at times.”
Gadson said he knew Dobyns-Bennett was going to win the game. The athletic Love joined the team last week after sitting out first semester.
“We’re just starting to click now. … It feels great to beat Science Hill,” Gadson said.
Science Hill’s lone double-digit scorer was guard Calvin Songster, who made three 3-pointers while scoring 17 points. Malik McGue added eight points for the Hilltoppers, who shot 32 percent from the field.
“The bottom line is when you shoot 32 or 31 percent … it’s gonna be very difficult for you to win many games,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said, “especially when your opponent is getting high-percentage shots and hitting them right around the basket. … They attacked us in the interior. … Matter of fact, only two of their shots were outside the paint tonight – that they made. … I mean, Gadson’s the one that wore us out, to be totally honest with you.”
D-B led 14-10 after one quarter and 33-24 at the half. Forward Josh Holt’s three-point play – via an interior pass from Foreman – gave the Indians a double-digit lead for good at 44-32 with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
Gadson scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter as the Indians steadily – and sturdily – pulled away.
“They’ve got good strength and good size,” Cutlip said. “I thought they were much more patient this time around, offensively. … There’s a reason why they were picked to win this league early on. They’ve got great size. They’ve got skilled basketball players on their team. … I thought our kids came out and played hard.”
The Hilltoppers visit Daniel Boone on Tuesday while D-B hosts Volunteer.
Science Hill (girls) 55
The Lady Indians hung around with the Keisha Gregory-less Lady ‘Toppers (8-0, 23-0) for three quarters, but Science Hill senior point guard Tianna Tarter wouldn’t let D-B within striking distance.
Coach Keith Turner sat Gregory, a starting guard, for forgetting some of her equipment. Tarter, however, displayed her usual array of tools while several college coaches watched her score 27 points.
D-B (4-4, 13-7) trailed 41-33 entering the fourth quarter, but Tarter scored the second-ranked Lady Hilltoppers’ first eight points of the quarter as they built a 49-35 lead. The run included a 12-foot pull-up and a driving leaner she banked in from six feet.
“Tianna’s been on a tear,” Turner said. “I mean, she comes to ready to play every game and she’s just leading this team. She could score a lot more if she wanted to, but she tries to get others involved. She’s having a great year. She’s fun to coach.”
Baylee Head and Gabby Lyon scored nine points apiece for Science Hill. Lyon got a couple of baskets on put-backs. Science Hill led 25-21 at halftime, but Head opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer that triggered a 12-3 run.
D-B was led by hard-driving junior guard Sasha Morrisette’s 16 points.
“She’s just a fighter,” Turner said. “I mean, she’ll put a shot up and go get her own rebound and put it back up and she makes you foul her. She’s a tough player, no doubt.”
Alex Anderson, a 6-foot-1 senior post, added nine points for D-B.