Science Hill was in shut down mode once again.
Playing the tough, gritty defense they’re known for, the Hilltoppers rolled to a 59-35 victory over Greeneville in Thursday’s season-opening basketball game at the new Topper Palace.
They held the Greene Devils to four points in the second quarter and 13 in the first half.
“This is the first game, scrimmage or anything for these kids since last March,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “I’m pleased with the effort and thought the kids played hard. They tried to do what we asked them. If you want to advance down the road, you have to guard people and that is the big thing for us to do a good job on the defensive end.”
When needed, Keynan Cutlip and Amare Redd provided points on the offensive end.
Cutlip hit 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range and finished with 15 points. He also had four rebounds and four assists, but like his father and coach was talking about the defensive effort.
“That’s our main focus of every practice,” he said. “We’re able to communicate on the defensive end. Tonight was a lot of fun. We haven’t gotten to play since the end of last year and it was great to come out with a win.”
Redd was a force on both ends of the floor. He ended with 12 points, five rebounds and three steals. He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face after finally getting to start the season.
“It was great to get back out here with my bros and getting back on the court, working against another team,” Redd said. “I like get out there, get rebounds and do all the effort plays that most people don’t. This was a good way to start the season.”
Other leaders included Caleb McBride with eight points and Dalvin Mathes with six rebounds.
Greeneville was without seven players who are still in the football playoffs, but the Greene Devils were plenty tough early on.
Connor DeBusk scored all of his team’s points in the first quarter as Greeneville trailed 12-9. The guard kept finding ways to score throughout the game, ending with a game-high 24 points.
However with Science Hill mixing up the defenses, the Greene Devils weren’t able to mount a successful comeback. The Hilltoppers led 47-30 at the end of three quarters and the lead never fell below 16 points in the final period.
Still, Greeneville was able to not let it get too far out of hand, slowing down the game with a 1-3-1 zone defense.
“Greeneville had a lot to do with slowing us down, but all in all, I’m pretty happy,” Coach Cutlip said. “We tried to push the basketball and do all the things we’ve been working on.”
Science Hill is scheduled to host Stone Memorial on Saturday at 1 p.m.