Using a lockdown defense that has defined this season, the Hilltoppers rolled past Tennessee High 69-45 in the District 1-AAA boys basketball semifinals.
Science Hill (28-3) will face Dobyns-Bennett, a 68-65 winner over David Crockett, in Saturday’s championship game at Cherokee High School. It will be an all-Washington County final on the girls’ side as Science Hill takes on Daniel Boone.
Jordan McLoyd led the Hilltopper attack with 14 points, four assists and four steals. Griffin Ballard had 12 points.
Jake Matherne had eight points and eight rebounds, while Hunter Phillips coupled eight points with six rebounds. Amare Redd hauled in nine rebounds.
Science Hill had 13 steals, including three from Caleb Mazoff, and only turned the ball over 11 times.
“Thirteen steals and only 11 turnovers, that was huge because we tried to play at a really fast pace tonight,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “They are as good a team as anyone in the half-court with the pieces they have.
“We wanted to disrupt that and our kids did a good job. We had 13 offensive rebounds and shooting 7 of 13 from the 3-point line changes things.”
Mchale Bright had 13 points to lead the Vikings (21-10). Cole McBrayer added eight points.
Dobyns-Bennett 68, David Crockett 65
Zane Whitson scored 21 points, including 10 in two extra periods as the Indians (18-11) rallied for the double-overtime victory over the Pioneers (19-10).
David Crockett opened up a 25-12 lead early in the second quarter before the Indians rallied to trail 28-25 at the half. Whitson found Malachi Hale for a tying bucket with 42 seconds left in regulation. Donta Hackler missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer with the game tied at 48.
Whitson had all six of D-B’s points in the first overtime. Releford missed a 3-pointer at the end to send the game into a second overtime.
The Indians pulled out to a 66-59 lead, but the determined Pioneers battled back. Forcing a turnover with 1.9 seconds left, Crockett missed a shot at the buzzer to force a third overtime.
Hackler scored 19 to lead the Pioneers, who got 16 from Mason Britton, 14 from Dawson Wagner and nine from Mack Hensley.
“Anytime you go into double overtime, it’s a heartbreaker for somebody,” Crockett coach Cody Connell said. “We made some big plays at the start and they made some big-time plays at the end. But I’m proud of my guys, the way they battled to the end.”
Science Hill 69, David Crockett 38
Jeila Greenlee hit five shots from 3-point range in a 20-point performance as the Lady ’Toppers (23-7) jumped out early and didn’t let up against Lady Pioneers (14-17).
Alasia Smith came through with 17 points and Nae Marion scored a dozen for Science Hill, which led 32-16 at halftime.
“I thought it was a complete performance,” Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley said. “We had three really good days of practice and you could see it. Greenlee scoring 20 and getting Marion back was huge. All of our kids played well, the first 8 or 9 kids and then the kids we rotated in at the end.”
Emily Trivette led David Crockett with 13 points, while Emma Gouge ended with eight.
Daniel Boone 30, Dobyns-Bennett 28
The Lady ’Blazers (17-10) came out on top as the Lady Indians (22-10) missed three shots to win or tie in the final 15 seconds.
Boone didn’t lead until the fourth quarter, but stayed in front after going ahead. Jaycie Jenkins had a game-high 11 points to lead the Lady ’Blazers. Kayla Gibson and Savannah Jessee each scored six.
“We shot 9 for 35 and it wasn’t pretty. We didn’t take the lead until four minutes to go, but I’m excited for the girls,” Boone coach Beau Hauldren said. “We’re going to enjoy tonight and celebrate.”
Megan Ayers scored nine points to lead Dobyns-Bennett. Jaden Potts had seven, as Boone held D-B post players Jabrea Johnson and Caitlyn Wallace were held to a combined seven points.
Dobyns-Bennett coach Bill Francis believed the game was partially lost at the free-throw line.
“We just didn’t have it tonight. You can’t shoot 5 for 13 from the free-throw line this time of year, especially in a game like that,” Francis said. “I tried to call a timeout late, but I guess they didn’t hear me. We will try to come back and try to get the three seed.”