On Friday night, the Hilltoppers scored a pair of non-conference wins — knocking off Abingdon 73-55 and Johnson County 71-64.
The ’Toppers had a rough night from outside the arc in the first game, making only one basket against the Falcons — but they made 31 two-point shots.
Jake Matherne led Science Hill in the first game with 19 points and added 10 in the second game against the Longhorns.
“I’m extremely pleased with Jake in both games. He was very effective for us,” Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip said. “Drew Morrison had two outstanding games and he’s probably one of the most skilled players we have. He’s only going to get better as he starts to get out of football mode. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter.”
The ’Toppers weren’t given much of a test against an undersized Abingdon team as Science Hill lived in the paint and Morrison added 13 points.
Jake Thacker led Abingdon with 12 points.
In the second game, the Longhorns gave the Hilltoppers a game for much of the contest. The main difference was a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter where Johnson County missed nine straight shots and Science Hill got out to a 10-point lead.
“We exerted a lot of energy in the first game. Really except for a small stretch there, I thought we outplayed them,” Johnson County head coach Austin Atwood said. “We didn’t execute late, which is what really makes me mad because we executed late well last year. In the second game, we didn’t execute at all. They were just tired.”
Blake Atwood had a solid game for Johnson County, pouring in 18 points and handing out nine assists. Gavin Reece and Troy Arnold were also in double figures against Science Hill with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Arnold also grabbed 11 rebounds to earn a double-double.
The problem was inside for the Longhorns (1-1) as they simply could not match up well with a long and lanky Science Hill team.
The ’Toppers move to 2-0 on the season.
Johnson County 66, Sullivan North 52
The ’Horns came out sluggish against a Golden Raiders team, depleted by injuries from football, that had just nine active players.
The first quarter proved the tiredness further as the score was 10-9 in favor of North at the end as both teams had trouble making shots.
Johnson County opened up a 28-22 lead at the half against a tough zone defense by the Raiders that was keeping them in the game.
It took until the fourth quarter for Johnson County to really get going. The Longhorns put up 25 points, but North would not go away quietly.
The Raiders cut the deficit to eight points a few times down the stretch, but the lead ballooned as the North players began to grow weary.
“We have a really short bench, a really young team with two seniors that didn’t play last year,” Sullivan North head coach Travis Cain said. “We’re going to have some growing pains, but the kids played really hard at times — but we didn’t play smart at times.
“Zack Scott played hard and so did Evan Bishop. Evan is a transfer, so we have some pieces. But we have to figure out the right mix and where to put everybody.”
Bishop had 16 points to lead North while Scott had 12.
Blake Atwood had 23 points to lead a balanced attack that included Lucas Phillips with 13 and Michael Oxentine with 10.