Sullivan South made for a marquee matchup for 21â„2 quarters, but Will Adams and Science Hill eventually stole the show.
Adams tallied 12 points, nine steals and five assists and the Hilltoppers pulled away for a 69-48 victory Tuesday at the ’Topper Palace.
Science Hill (20-2) improved to 8-0 in the Big Eight Conference while giving coach Ken Cutlip his eighth 20-win season in as many years on the Hilltoppers bench.
The Lady ’Toppers also remained unbeaten. Enjelica Reid paced four double-figure scorers with 17 points as the Lady ’Toppers improved to 8- 0 in the league and 21-0 overall while winning for the 45th time in their past 46 games.
South’s boys were intent on an upset. Evan Headrick’s quick release from the corner beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter to cut Science Hill’s lead to 18-14, and fellow guard A.J. Hutchins scored four straight points in the final 1:09 of the first half to keep the Rebels within three points (29-26) at halftime.
Michael Harr fed J.C. Garvin for an inside basket to cut Science Hill’s lead to 34-33 with 4:52 left in the third quarter. Science Hill picked up the pace from there, forcing the majority of South’s 29 turnovers (unofficially) and parlaying many into transition points.
Zach Howard assisted a C.J. Good 3-pointer in the right corner and Adams followed with a trey from the left corner. Calvin Songster’s 3-pointer on a kick-out from Tre’vonn Fields with 28 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Hilltoppers a 46-37 lead through three quarters.
Harr’s 15-footer got South within 46-39 with 7:18 to play, but Good’s 3-pointer and Adams 15-foot pull-up triggered a decisive 17-3 run. The crowd was most impressed during the spurt by a fast-break three-point play for Hunter LeVeau (16 points, 10 rebounds), which came via two quick passes from Adams and Good.
Good scored 15 points and made three of Science Hill’s nine 3-pointers.
“We started attacking the basket a little better in the second half,” Cutlip said. “Not that we shot a whole lot less threes, it’s just that we got different looks by attacking the basket. … That led to some open threes.
“I thought we missed some shots … in the first half that let South back into it, you know, and had some turnovers. But they played well. They stuck shots and they’re well coached. This is a good win for us. At this point in the year, getting a win in the conference is huge.”
Fields had 12 points and seven rebounds for Science Hill.
Hutchins led the Rebels (4-4, 10-9) with 16 points, including a difficult reverse lay-in in transition when he used the rim to help fend off the lanky, athletic Fields.
“I thought our effort was really good throughout,” South coach Mark Pendleton said. “But Science Hill just keeps coming at you. They got the turnovers they wanted in the second half and they hit some big shots, some big threes.
“Science Hill is a team that shares the ball so well. I mean they’re very unselfish, which makes them even tougher to guard.”
The Hilltoppers host Tennessee High on Friday. South visits Daniel Boone.
Science Hill (girls) 85
Sullivan South 56
Seven Lady ’Toppers scored while Science Hill jumped out to a 25-7 through one quarter, and they coasted to victory from there.
Enjelica Reid was joined in double figures by Shy Copney and Gabby Lyon, who scored 14 points apiece, and Tianna Tarter, who scored 13.
Morgan Knack and Shae Smith added eight points apiece.
“South did a great job attacking the basket,” Science Hill coach Darrell Barnwell said. “I thought we came out strong early. We forced some turnovers and we got some easy baskets.
“And then we quit taking care of the ball. We had 43 (points) at the half, but what could we have done if we’d taken care of the ball more?”
Laura Williams scored 12 points for the Lady Rebels
Science Hill hosts Tennessee High on Friday.