BRISTOL – If Tennessee High’s the second-best team in the area, Science Hill might have trouble staying interested during the regular season.
Darrell Barnwell’s Lady Toppers absorbed an energetic, intense effort from the Lady Vikings and still cruised to a 75-48 victory in Viking Hall on Tuesday.
Morgan Knack made four 3-pointers in a 16-point outing, and Tianna Tarter also scored 16 points and handed out seven assists.
“I thought both teams played hard,’” said Barnwell, whose team improved to 3-0 in the Big Eight Conference and 7-0 overall. “I thought it was a good effort by all 11 of our kids.”
Tarter said playing against athletic Tennessee High counterpart Ashlee Mitchell brings out the best in her. Thus far, everyone seems to bring out the best in the athletic sophomore point guard.
Tarter’s 3-pointer from the right corner gave Science Hill a 33-26 lead with 34 seconds left in the first half. It triggered a 24-5 run, which Tarter capped with a trey from the left corner to stretch the lead to 54-31 with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
Science Hill also got double-figure scoring from sophomore post Gabby Lyon (12 points) and junior guard Shy Copney (11).
“Morgan Knack knocks down four out of five 3-pointers,” Barnwell said. “Shy can take over a game. Tianna can take over a game, at times.
“We’re fortunate that we have a lot of kids who can put the ball in the basket in different ways. We’ve got kids who can shoot the three. We’ve got kids who can attack the basket and (make) the mid-range jump-shot.”
The Lady Vikings made two field goals during the decisive seven-minute span in which they were outscored by 19 points.
Several Lady Toppers were in the passing lanes. Even post player Gabby Lyon led a fast break with a drive, then passed to Knack before receiving a quick return pass for a layup.
“Our kids can be really good defensive players,” Barnwell said. “We showed that last year going down the stretch during tournament time and getting to the state tournament. … We got more deflections the second half. We didn’t see the ball real good in the first half – we were so conscious of not leaving Easterling out there for a three or making sure we had help on Mitchell – and not leaving Chloe Neil out there on the wing.”
Mitchell led Tennessee High (5-1, 1-1) with 15 points. Fellow guard Keely Easterling added 13, including three 3-pointers.
Science Hill hosts Christian Academy of Knoxville on Friday at 7 p.m.