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Hill-Stoppers: Science Hill defense shuts down Stone Memorial

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Dec 7, 2019 at 8:05 PM

If the Science Hill basketball team keeps playing defense like this, they may have to change their nickname to the “Hill-stoppers.”

Holding Stone Memorial to 22 points through three quarters, the Hilltoppers chiseled out a 56-37 victory in Saturday’s DoubleTree Roundball Classic at the new Science Hill Gymnasium.

The Panthers (4-4), who drained 12 shots from 3-point range in a Friday win against Tennessee High, were held to 3-of-19 behind the arc Saturday.

“Against a team which can really shoot the basketball, our kids did a really good job of being out on their shooters and adjusting the game plan,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “I’m really proud of them.”

While things went well defensively, Science Hill (9-0) struggled with the offense early.

Enter Thomas Messimer off the bench, who did more than give his team a boost. He was more like an injection of rocket fuel with back-to-back 3-point goals from the right corner and the team’s first eight points. Messimer finished with career-highs of 13 points and five rebounds to lead the ’Toppers.

“I came out feeling good in my groove tonight,” Messimer said. “I’m pretty good from the corner, but if it wasn’t for my teammates getting the ball to me, it wouldn’t have been possible. It just felt good to contribute tonight.”

Griffin Ballard added 11 points and three assists. Keynan Cutlip scored seven points and Jake Matherne grabbed seven rebounds.

Chris Coudriet led the visitors from Cookeville with 10 points, followed by Zach Boyd with eight.

Science Hill’s win came less than 24 hours after winning a game against previously unbeaten Farragut.

“It’s important because we felt we played well last night to beat a good Farragut team,” Coach Cutlip said. “You have come back and play an equally good Stone team. I thought we were up to the challenge. Execution in the second half was not where it needs to be. But we’re going to get better at that as the season goes on.”

Tennessee High 53, Farragut 39

The Vikings (6-2) raced out to a 27-9 lead early in the second quarter and handed the Admirals their second straight 14-point loss to a Tri-Cities team.

Blake Fauver steered the Vikings to the win with 13 points. Cole McBrayer quarterbacked them to a dozen and Nolan Wishon powered his way inside to 10.

Farragut (7-2) battled back to trail 30-22 at the half. However, the Admirals struggled with Tennessee High’s size as the Vikings defense altered several shots. Aaron Dozier was the lone Farragut player in double figures with 10, followed by Kaleb Vanacker with nine.

Bearden 82, Sullivan Central 40

The defending Class AAA state champion Bulldogs (3-5), led by former Cherokee coach Jeremy Parrott, wasted no time taking control against the Cougars (2-7).

Bearden led 11-2 by time a first timeout was called at 5:37 of the first period and 26-11 at the end of the quarter. It grew in the second half when Bearden outscored Central by a 31-12 margin.

Tyler Nordin racked up 21 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures. AJ Pruitt scored 15, followed by Elijah Bredwood with 14 and Caleb Edwards with 11.

Ty Barb and Joltin Harrison scored nine points apiece to lead Central.

Girls

Science Hill 52, Stone Memorial 41

Using rock-solid defense, the Lady ’Toppers (4-3) gave up just four points in the first quarter and 14 in the half to defeat previously unbeaten Stone Memorial.

Science Hill led 25-14 at the half and 37-23 heading into the final quarter. That margin was needed as the Lady Panthers (7-1) cut the lead to single digits with less than two minutes to go. The Lady ’Toppers hit their free throws down the stretch to add some distance at the end.

“They’re a great offensive team, one of the best teams in the state,” Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley said. “But defense travels and we spent a lot of time working on our half-court man and with the matchups. We tried to stay attached to their shooters and guard the 3-ball. It was a great response from our kids.”

Up 17-12 in the second quarter, Jelia Greenlee knocked down back-to-back 3-point scores and Nae Marion added an inside basket to push the lead to 13 points. Greenlee led Science Hill with 16 points. Alasia Smith and Marion both finished with 10, while Jasmin Myers netted nine.

“Greenlee and Smith played really well,” Whaley said. “Nae is improving so much and the sky is the limit for her. She had a tough game yesterday, but bounced back today. She’s growing up on and off the court in front of our eyes.

“The schedule has been brutal for our team. We’ve played four of the top 10 teams in the state, but we’ve been in every game.”

For the Lady Panthers, Emma Capps provided a game-high 17 points and Annah Gross totaled 10. 

Farragut 63, Elizabethton 49

Playing without star player Kaitlin Bailey, who was in a boot, the Lady Cyclones (3-5) managed to stay relatively close to the Lady Admirals (9-0).

Morgan Headrick paced Elizabethton with 15 points. Kaylen Shell and Lina Lyon each contributed 11 points.

Claire Wyatt put up 21 points to lead Farragut. Avery Strickland, who hit the winning free throws against Science Hill, finished with 13 points and Ashlyn Sheridan pitched in 11.

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