'Toppers knocked from 1-AAA playoffs, Indians survive Hurricanes

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Feb 26, 2019 at 9:48 PM

Sevier County's fast start ensured there would be no fifth straight Region 1-AAA boys basketball championship for Science Hill.

The Smoky Bears led by 19 points at the end of the first quarter and rolled to a 69-49 victory over the four-time defending region champion Hilltoppers on Tuesday night at Daniel Boone High School.

Sevier County (23-6) will face Dobyns-Bennett, a 59-58 winner over Morristown East, in Thursday's championship game. Both finalists have qualified for next Monday's sectional round.

Science Hill, which ended its season at 17-17, had eliminated Sevier County from the postseason each of the previous three seasons. It had the Bears fired up as they opened the game with a 15-3 run. Sevier County went 6-of-7 from the field in the first quarter, while Science Hill went just 1-for-8 and committed seven turnovers.

"We ran into an extremely hungry and motivated team," Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. "That's what you get when you eliminate a team three straight years. Their kids remembered that and they were hungry."

Drew Morrison and Jake Matherne each finished with 10 points and six rebounds to lead Science Hill. Kendle Cutlip scored eight points, while other leaders were Amare Redd with seven rebounds and Will Stevens with four assists.

Wes Maples scored 18 points to lead the Bears, followed by Camden Burden and Camden McElhaney with 14 points apiece.

Sevier County maintained a comfortable lead throughout the game. The Bears led 44-25 at halftime and 58-37 at the end of three quarters.

It marked the final game for Science Hill seniors Andrew Miller, Stevens, Morrison and Kendle Cutlip.

"This has been an outstanding group of kids," Coach Cutlip said. "At no time throughout the season did they quit. They kept showing up and competing. Regardless of what happened at the game the night before, they were ready to go the next morning. I'm very proud of them.

"Our four seniors, I feel really good about the type of men they are. We're going to see great things from them as they move on through life."

Dobyns-Bennett 59, Morristown East 58

Riamello Wadsworth played through contact to hit a winning shot with eight seconds left and lift the Indians (30-3) over the upset-minded Hurricanes (22-10).

Wadsworth, who was assisted by Marae Foreman on the play, led the way with 17 points and Charlie Browder came through with 16 as Dobyns-Bennett hit the 30-win milestone for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Cameron Rymer, who missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, led the Hurricanes with 17 points. Connor Jordan had 15 points and Micah Simpson ended with nine.

Morristown East took a 17-13 lead at the end of one quarter. The teams battled through an extremely competitive second quarter, with David Ellison's tip-in with one second left giving the Hurricanes a 31-30 halftime lead.

It went back and forth throughout the second half before Foreman handed D-B its biggest lead at 57-52 on a pair of free throws. Jordan sparked East's comeback with two buckets and an assist to Layne Atkins for a 58-57 lead.

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