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Science Hill downs Central at Food City Classic

Jeff Birchfield • Nov 26, 2019 at 8:01 PM

BLUFF CITY — If Science Hill’s defense plays like it did against Sullivan Central in Tuesday’s Food City Thanksgiving Classic, the Hilltoppers will beat the stuffing out of a lot of teams this season.

The Hilltoppers held the Cougars to 10 first-half points in a 55-26 boys basketball victory at Sullivan East’s Dyer Dome.

The Hilltoppers (3-0) had 18 steals, while the Cougars committed 31 turnovers overall. Science Hill raced out to a 16-4 lead at the end of one quarter and 29-10 at halftime, leaving little doubt about the outcome.

“That was our best defensive effort of the season so far,” Science Hill coach Ken Cultip said. “Our kids are starting to buy into what we’re trying to do and they’re working as a unit. I’m really proud of them. We have four seniors — Hunter Phillips, Jordan McLoyd, Jake Matherne and Griffin Ballard — and we have great leadership right now. They’re unselfish and good things are going to happen if the rest of the guys buy into the same message.”

Phillips went 6-of-7 from the field scoring a game-high 14 points, along with two blocks on the defensive end. McLoyd had 11 points, three steals and six assists, including one to Phillips for an alley-oop dunk in the third quarter.

“It’s a blast to be out there playing with this group. It’s a whole team effort,” Phillips said. “We just have to continue to work together and keep doing what we’re doing. There is still a lot of improvement to be had, but this team is getting better real quick.”

Joltin Harrison scored six points and Jacob Fields have five to lead the Cougars (0-3).

“We held them to 55, that’s a little above our goal, but not by much,” Central coach Derek McGhee said. “Two things I’m disappointed in are turnovers. A lot of those were unforced where we would handle their pressure and then try to do something like dribble behind the back. The second thing, they’re full court pressing and we’re sitting back in a zone and we have more fouls than they did.

“That’s just ridiculous in my opinion. Every single game for us when we’re in a zone, they’re not fouling and we are. I know the turnovers come with youth, but I’m extremely disappointed we have double the fouls of somebody else.”

Science Hill’s scoring was spread out with the Hilltoppers sharing the ball to the tune of 13 assists. As mentioned, McLoyd had six of those assists, while Keynan Cutlip finished with nine points, five rebounds and three steals. Matherne finished with eight points and six rebounds, while Amare Redd scored seven points.

Ballard had four steals and Thomas Messimer finished with three.

“Jordan really did a good job of sharing the basketball. We know he’s capable of scoring, but he does a good job of finding other people,” Coach Cutlip said. “Griffin had a solid game, too. All the seniors set the tone for us. They can all do a lot of things for us and that’s what I like about this group.”

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