By Collin Brooks
It took an extra period for Science Hill to find their footing, but now they live on to walk another day. The Toppers scored a 50-48 victory over Jefferson County to advance to the Region 1-AAA Championship for the second straight year..
Science Hill held the ball for the final two minutes of the 4th quarter with the game tied at 40, but an unsuccessful contested shot by Bowden Lyon sent the game into overtime tied at 40. But Science Hill controlled the extra period with the help of junior Tate Wheeler, who scored six of his 14 points in the overtime period. He also came up with a game-winning block on on Jefferson County’s Elijah Dial’s last second lay-up.
The Toppers were led by senior Colby Martin, who helped the Toppers through a drought, scoring 8 points in the fourth quarter and finishing the night with 21.
“It makes it a lot more fun,” Martin said through a smile about close games. “Our motto this week is just give all you’ve got, every minute of the game, no matter what your role is.
“It just means so much to us, this is our home court. So we have to come out and play with fire.”
Jefferson County lost the services of their leading scorer Cameron Gregg in the first minute of the extra period. He finished the night with 17 points. Nathan Seal delivered 14 points for the Patriots.
In the fourth quarter, the Toppers were able to take their first lead since the second period after they opened the fourth quarter on a 8-2 run. Martin was the catalyst of the spurt, knocking down a 3-pointer with 6:37 to give Science Hill the 34-33 lead.
In the first half, Science Hill was able to get as close as 27-26 after a pair of free throws from Martin with 3:52 remaining in the half, but yet again, they weren’t able to get over the hump, as Jefferson County closed out the quarter with back-to-back baskets to take a 31-26 lead into the final period.
The Toppers would find themselves down 13-3 in the first quarter, but the fight of Colby Martin helped them stay in the contest.
They would go on a 15-6 run to pull within 19-18 with three minutes remaining in the contest. Tate Wheeler would tied the contest with 2:43 remaining and take the lead with his next free throw to give the Toppers the 20-19 lead.
But the Toppers weren’t able to find the basket again, and the Patriots took a 27-20 lead into the locker room.