But that’s exactly what the Hilltoppers did.
Coming up with 17 offensive boards, and limiting South-Doyle’s overall rebounding effectiveness on the other end, Science Hill kept its season alive with an extremely tough 63-57 win Saturday night in the Region 1-AAA basketball quarterfinals at The New Gym.
The Hilltoppers improved to 17-16 on the season and moved into Tuesday’s semifinals against the winner of Sunday’s game between Tennessee High and Sevier County.
“Hat’s off to the kids,” said Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip. “They never stopped competing, never stopped fighting. We’re doing things we didn’t do in the regular season and that’s finish games.”
CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARD
Science Hill out-rebounded the Cherokees, 35-29.
“It came down to Coach (Andy) Webb putting together a great game for us,” said Cutlip. “He had a chance to scout South-Doyle. We knew about their athleticism and how hard they attack the basket. We were really concerned with them hurting us on the offensive glass, but we felt if we got them tired it could work to our advantage to get offensive boards.”
One of the biggest offensive rebounds came from Jake Matherne. He battled his way to secure the 50-50 ball, stuck it back in, and completed the and-one with a made free throw to tie the game at 53-53 midway through the fourth quarter.
“It was just wanting it,” said Matherne. “Rebounding was a point of emphasis the whole week in practice. I was trying to do whatever I could to help my team. If that was getting offensive rebounds, putting it in the hole, or kicking it back out, I just wanted to help my team get the win.”
Matherne led the Hilltoppers with 15 points and 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Drew Morrison was also a beast, totaling 13 points and eight rebounds.
With the score tied at 57-57, Jordan McLoyd made a drive to the basket and was fouled. He made both free throws with 40.8 seconds left.
The Cherokees missed on their next possession, but got the offensive rebound. After a pair of timeouts, Cleaphus Smith caught the ball coming hard to the head of the key, but slipped and was called for a walk with 10.8 seconds left.
McLoyd made two more free throws to seal the victory.
Kendle Cutlip played an important role in Science Hill’s win, not only with his 11 points but also by taking three of the Hilltoppers’ six charges. The foul-plagued Cherokees’ were not the same team in the latter stages of the game.
Also, Will Stevens hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half. He also led the Hilltoppers with six assists.
For South-Doyle, Kendrick Holland led the way with 22 points. Jayden Doyle chipped in with 15 points.