The Hilltoppers had enough answers for Tennessee High and pulled off a surprising 67-65 win Friday night at the new gym.
Science Hill (5-5) squared its overall record and evened its Big Seven Conference mark at 1-1. It was just the second loss of the season for the Vikings (7-2), who were playing their league opener.
“I thought our kids tonight found an effort level they hadn’t been able to get to,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Ken Cutlip. “Our effort was the biggest thing that stood out to me tonight.”
Science Hill earned the upper hand in the second quarter and held it until the final minutes of the game.
Leading 56-46, the Hilltoppers saw their lead shrink to three points as Tennessee High started knocking down big shots and free throws. But the Hilltoppers got several big plays, especially from Will Stevens, who had nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter — including a key jumper and a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to give the Hilltoppers a four-point lead.
Stevens said the victory was born out of hard work.
“I think our team gave tremendous effort,” said Stevens. “We’re a good team, and we’re working on it. We’re here, and it’s only up from here.”
Drew Morrison was also a key contributor. He led the Hilltoppers with 14 points. Jake Matherne added 11 points.
McHale Bright did his level best to pull the Vikings through. He took over down the stretch, scoring 14 of his team-high 20 points.
Cole McBrayer added 14 to the Tennessee High cause while Christian Webb added 13.