Playing in retro uniforms inside the old Topper Palace, the Hilltoppers defeated the Admirals 69-55 in a battle of previously unbeaten teams in the DoubleTree Roundball Classic.
Science Hill (8-0) controlled the game from the second quarter on. The Hilltoppers went on a 12-2 run early in the second quarter and held anywhere from a six- to 13-point lead over the next two periods.
Behind a 15-point performance by Hunter Phillips and 14 by Laithen Shingledecker, they pushed it out further before late free throws tightened it up.
“Our perimeter players did a good job getting the ball inside and our posts were able to score inside and get some separation. I thought the second half, defensively, we did a good job because Farragut can put some points on the board. We did a good job of matching up and finding 20 (Isaiah Smith).
“It was a really good win for our kids. Defense is carrying us right now, and when we get better offensively, I think we’ve got a shot of being really good.”
Phillips was 7-for-7 from the field. He talked about his teammates getting the ball inside to him and Jake Matherene, who finished with 11 points.
“They did an amazing job tonight. They threw the ball in there and we finished,” Phillips said. “It’s crazy from last year to this year. We’ve gone from a team not that great defensively to like crazy good. It’s been a blessing.”
The Hilltoppers battled to a 17-16 lead after one quarter. They pushed the lead to double digits on the 12-2 run and were ahead 39-30 at the intermission.
Shingledecker was 6-for-6 from the field and he also dished out five assists. Jordan McLoyd also finished in double figures with 12. For Shingledecker, the biggest key was Science Hill’s effort on the defensive end. Overall, the Hilltoppers forced 21 turnovers.
“We practice defense, and it’s 100 percent talking the whole time,” Shingledecker said. “Talking raises the intensity level and it gets us going.”
Isaiah Smith led the Admirals (7-1) with 15 points. Robby Geron had 14 points and Aaron Dozier ended with 10.
Bearden 62, Elizabethton 35
Already facing the tough task of going up against the defending Class AAA state champions, the Cyclones (1-1) were without four players who are playing in Saturday’s Class 4A football state title game.
Elizabethton still put up a competitive effort early, down 19-14 in the second quarter before the Bulldogs started pulling away. The margin was 32-20 at the half and 52-26 at the end of three quarters.
William Willocks led three Cyclones players in double figures with 11 points. Nico Ashley and Donta Earnest each scored 10.
Tyler Nordin racked up 17 points in the Bearden victory. AJ Pruitt ended with a dozen and Cahlib Edwards tallied 10.
Mountain Heritage (N.C.) 83, Sullivan Central 40
The Burnsville, N.C.-based Cougars proved to be bigger and stronger than their Blountville counterparts and it showed throughout the contest.
Mountain Heritage (1-0) led 19-6 after one quarter and pushed it out to 49-16 at the half. Callin Randolph scored 17 points with five baskets from 3-point range to lead Heritage. Lucas Jenkins produced a 13-point effort and Nate Ledford accounted for 11 points.
Joltin Harrison led Central (2-6) with 18 points and Ty Barb ended with eight.
Stone Memorial 62, Tennessee High 51
The Panthers (4-3) clawed their way to a 32-20 halftime lead and controlled the tempo in their win over the Vikings (5-2).
Zach Boyd drained four 3-point shots to score 12, while Jack Eldridge and Hunter Wattenbarger each came through with 11. Nolan Wishon steered the Vikings offense with 11 points, and Blake Fauver netted 10.