Things changed quickly in the second half as the Hilltoppers allowed only four third-quarter points and eventually walked out of the Chiefs’ gym with a 71-51 basketball win on Tuesday night.
“I was upset, very disappointed,” said Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip about the way the first half ended. “I thought we were just lethargic. I thought we got off to a good start, but we just didn’t sustain it.
“I wasn’t very happy at halftime when I talked to them, but I really liked the response I got out of our guys in the second half. We mixed up the lineup and got a good response out of the group we started.”
Science Hill (23-2 overall) improved to 7-1 in league play. Cherokee fell to 1-8 in the Big Seven and 9-15 overall.
Science Hill picked it up on the defensive end at the start of the second half. With the offense still producing, the Hilltoppers began the third quarter with a 14-2 run. The Chiefs didn’t get their second basket of the period until 1:49 was remaining, and Science Hill carried a 47-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to win the first three minutes of the second half,” said Cherokee head coach Trey Fields. “We had an awful start with the miss, then they get an offensive rebound and kick-out three. That set the tone. We got an and-one and missed the free throw, so we didn’t keep pace. We just couldn’t go on any runs.”
Science Hill got off to a quick start to the game with a 13-4 streak from the outset. But the Chiefs hung around.
It was 28-19 late in the second quarter, and the Hilltoppers looked like they might take a double-digit lead into the halftime locker room. But the Chiefs closed with an impressive 12-3 run to knot the game at 31-31 after two quarters.
“I saw some kids grow up tonight,” said Fields.
LEADING THE WAY
Science Hill had good balance with Jake Matherne heading the scoring leaders with 16 points and he capped a double-double with 10 rebounds. Jordan McLoyd added 14 points while Keynan Cutlip chipped in with 10 points and four assists. Thomas Messimer added eight points and four assists. Amare Reed had six points and nine rebounds.
For the Chiefs, Carter Metz was the leading scorer with 17 points. He hit three 3-pointers. Jonathan Fulkerson added 10 points and Joe Nichols had eight.