It was the perfect night for Science Hill to introduce the 2012 class of Sports Hall of Fame members at a basketball game.
Coach Darrell Barnwell’s Lady Hilltoppers concluded the program’s first undefeated regular season with a 71-27 win against Greeneville at the ’Topper Palace.
Late, great Hilltoppers Hall of Famer Melissa McCray-Dukes, who led Gary Scheuerman’s Lady ’Toppers to two state tournaments in the mid-80s before helping Pat Summitt’s Tennessee teams to two national titles, was surely smiling somewhere.
Wing Morgan Knack made four 3-pointers and paced four double-digit scorers with 14 points as second-ranked Science Hill improved to 29-0 while winning for the 53rd time in its last 54 games.
“We’ve talked a lot about historical things with this group, and this is just another one this group has been able to accomplish,” Barnwell said. “Every kid’s playing well. We always look at the box score and have three or four in double figures.”
Knack made two of her treys in a 45-second span of the third quarter to give the Lady ’Toppers a 43-11 lead with 5:07 in the period. One came from each corner, neither touched the rim and the treys were assisted by sophomore point guard Tianna Tarter and sophomore post Gabby Lyon.
“Tonight we have 17 assists out of 30 made shots,” Barnwell said. “We shot the 3-ball well, especially Morgan. It’s just been a total team effort night in and night out.”
Lyon scored 13 points. Her one-dribble whirl on the right block after Emanda Reid’s bounce-pass from the wing gave Science Hill a 32-9 lead with 21â„2 minutes left in the first half. Shy Copney followed with a steal and fast-break layup and Shae Smith’s weak-side put-back made the scored 36-9 at the half.
“They were missing their good post player, Madison Shipley,” Barnwell said. “She was out with concussion symptoms. That would’ve helped them, obviously. Once we knew that, our game plan was to get the ball inside a lot early.”
Greeneville (12-16) was held to nine field goals.
“Defensively, I thought we played tremendous, especially in the first half and the fourth quarter,” Barnwell said. “We had good ball pressure, good help-side defense. We blocked a few shots.”
Junior forward Enjelica Reid and Tarter scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Science Hill, which opens district tournament play Monday at 6 p.m. against David Crockett at Sullivan Central.
Science Hill (boys) 81
Will Adams and the Hilltoppers emphatically atoned for their 58-57 loss at Greeneville on Jan. 7.
Adams, an athletic 5-foot-10 junior point guard, piled up 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He also made all eight of his free throws while helping No. 3 Science Hill finish the regular season with a 27-2 record and avenging its only loss of the season to a public school.
“Will’s had some great games here, but that’s probably the most complete if you look at all phases,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “He basically dominated all phases of the game, and with only two turnovers. I’m really thrilled with the fact of how he was so aggressive in pushing the basketball.
“We’ve really tried to get him to step it up a notch in how he attacks, and at the other end of the floor we’re getting a fast break. He was just relentless when he got the ball.”
Greeneville led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, but was outscored 19-2 in the second quarter. Four of the Greene Devils’ six field goals in the first half – two from guard Landon Duncan (14 points) in traffic, Trevor Ford’s fadeaway off the dribble from the elbow and a leaning bank that forward Brennan Hollowell had to power up – were difficult, contested shots. Greeneville (15-11) finished with 12 field goals.
“Greeneville played a great game down there, and we never were able to rattle them and wear them down down there,” Cutlip said. “I have to commend our team, because the moment we left that gym at Greeneville, we became a better defensive team. From that moment forward our kids have bought into the fact that we’ve got to guard.”
Senior wing Zach Howard made two 3-pointers and a two-handed stuff in transition en route to 12 points. Sophomore wing Calvin Songster made three treys and junior combo guard C.J. Good tallied two 3-pointers while scoring 11 points apiece.
Junior forward Reed Hayes scored six of his eight points in the first half and senior post Hunter LeVeau finished with seven points, eight rebounds and two blocks. LeVeau scored two baskets with his left hand in the post, and made a crowd-pleasing double-clutch reverse layup in transition on a pass from Songster.
“At least the last three games, Hunter’s really starting to look more comfortable in the low post position,” Cutlip said. “And he’s adding a dimension that we really hadn’t had all season.”
Science Hill opens district tournament play versus Volunteer on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Sullivan Central.