And the Lady Hilltoppers have the rare luxury of owning a win over the opponent.
The Lady Hilltoppers drew a third matchup this year with No. 8-ranked Stone Memorial in Wednesday’s first-round game, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. (EDT) at Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.
Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley said it’s not a bad thing to have face-to-face knowledge of your opponent.
“We are familiar with each other, which makes preparation for the game a little bit easier,” Whaley said.
The two games were drastically different. In the first meeting during the DoubleTree Roundball Classic at Science Hill on Dec. 7, the Lady Hilltoppers dominated for a 52-41 victory.
The rematch came on Jan. 11 and the Lady Panthers returned the favor, winning 64-40 on their home court in Crossville.
“They made three 3-pointers at our place, but in the second game they made 11,” said Whaley. “We will have to defend better on the perimeter.”
Another note about the second game is Science Hill went through a double-overtime war against David Crockett on Jan. 10, and had to make the drive to Crossville for a 5 p.m. start the next day.
The Lady Hilltoppers enter Wednesday’s game with a record of 28-7. They have won 17 straight, including a stunning come-from-behind 49-47 win over Knox Bearden in Saturday’s sectional.
Stone Memorial is 29-4, but its path to the state tournament was a bit shaky. The Lady Panthers beat White County 66-37 in the regular- season finale, but were upset six days later by the same team in the District 6-AAA semifinals.
They met again in the region semifinals and Stone won, 64-52, before losing to Bradley Central in the region finals. Stone responded with a 58-55 overtime win over Blackman in the sectional.
On the same side of the bracket with Science Hill are Maryville and No. 9 Memphis Whitehaven. Those teams will play at 12:30 p.m.
The later games are top-ranked Bradley Central against Lebanon at 2:15, and No. 3 Brentwood taking on Arlington at 3:45.