Playing in their former gym, the Topper Palace, the boys and girls squad romped to easy wins in the Doubletree Roundball Classic. The boys routed Meigs County 69-37, while the girls sped to a 72-45 victory over Myers Park (N.C.).
The Science Hill boys jumped out to a 12-2 lead to open the game. After the Tigers cut the lead to 18-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Hilltoppers slammed the door shut by outscoring Meigs 19-2 in the second quarter for a 37-13 halftime lead.
After all, they weren’t about to let the visitors spoil a night of celebration.
"I got goosebumps walking back in here as did coach Matherne who is on our staff and who played here," Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. "There are so many memories of here for me as a kid watching games played here and all the memories of coaching here. They came out and played inspired basketball tonight. There was so much energy and I've thought our effort the last two games has been taken to a different level."
It was the case for Kendle Cutlip who led the Science Hill effort by knocking down 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range for a game-high 19 points. The younger Cutlip credited his teammates for finding him open and then talked about his own feelings of playing in the old home gym.
"Man, this gym has the best memories and legacy of any gym in the state," he said. "To have the opportunity to come in here and have fun like the people before us, that's pretty special."
The Hilltoppers hit 12-of-24 overall behind the arc, although the biggest statistic was on the defensive end, where the Hilltoppers forced 23 turnovers and held the Tigers to just 2-of-14 from 3-point range.
Thomas Messimer knocked down three treys for nine points, while Will Stevens finished with eight points and Laithen Shingledecker had seven points. Drew Morrison pulled down 10 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end.
For Stevens, the night was carrying on a family legacy.
"It was all I could ask for," Stevens said. "I got to play in the same gym where my dad and uncles had so many great games."
Aaron Swafford had 11 points and Noah Davis finished with nine points to lead Meigs County.
Charlotte (Fla.) 83, Sullivan Central 43
Down 25-19 at the end of one quarter, the Cougars were outscored 32-6 by the Tarpons in the second period.
The Cougars hit some outside shots against Charlotte's 2-3 zone in the second half, but there were few second chances.
Charlotte had four players reach double figures — Tre Carroll with 21 points, Makim Reaves with 19, Ahmad Johnson with 16 and Kenny Scribner with 14.
Caleb Rose scored 12 points to lead Central, which also got eight points from Trey Rosenbalm.
Science Hill 72, Myers Park (N.C.) 45
Led by Jelia Greenlee's 19 points, the Lady 'Toppers controlled the action from start to finish.
Science Hill led 13-3 early and was up 35-14 at the half.
Symantha Fugate and Erin Egerbrecht ended in double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively, and Alasia Smith scored eight. Maddy Richmond added a pair of 3-point goals in a seven-point effort.
"We talked about today how special it was to play in this place and what kind of effort we needed," Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley said. "I thought we played really good. We had some spurts where we missed some easy shots, but all in all, a good night to be on the Hill. Our kids were excited about playing in here. I told them when you play in here, people expect effort and you have to be relentless and I thought for the most part, they did that."
Taylor Henderson paced the Lady Mustangs with 14 points and Naya Champ added eight.
Charlotte (Fla.) 45, Sullivan Central 41
Ary Hicks downed six free throws in the final 35 seconds to lift the Lady Tarpons over the Lady Cougars.
Hicks went 10-for-11 overall as part of a 16-point performance. A crucial offensive rebound on her only miss in the final minute gave her another chance, which she took advantage of.
After Central missed a couple of attempts to tie the game, Hicks hit two more free throws for a five-point lead. Central's Avery Leming banked in a trey with 3.1 seconds left to cut the lead to 43-41
The Lady Cougars, who got a game-high 19 points from Abbey Crawford and eight points from Leming, led most of the way. Central held a slight 28-26 lead at the half and were ahead 34-30 heading into the final quarter.