BY COLLIN BROOKS
The aura of early season basketball was in the air when Science Hill and Daniel Boone linked up on the basketball court on Friday night. The Toppers missed 22 free throws on the night, while Daniel Boone missed 11. But Science Hill was able to make enough to take a 41-39 victory.
“I told them on the radio that we probably set a Big 7 conference record for futility, as two teams combined, they weren’t filling it up either,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “I know from a scoring thing, it was not a pretty game…But those two teams kept fighting.
“The free throws are frustrating, but it’s just one of those things that we just have to get better at.”
Even with the abysmal shooting from the line, Daniel Boone had an opportunity to win or tie the game at the end, but the Blazers weren’t able to get off a shot after inbounding the ball from the side with under five-seconds remaining.
The Toppers were led by Bowden Lyon, who finished the contest with 17 points, but started the contest with an electric one-handed dunk. His teammate Tate Wheeler added 13 points for Science HIll. The Blazers only had four players find the scorebook, as Chad Heglar delivered 19 points and Eric Rigbsy connected for 12.
Daniel Boone coach Chris Brown said that while his team struggled to score, he felt like it was more of a defense-oriented contest.
“I think both teams played well defensively, it wasn’t a pretty offensive game and I think a lot of that had to do with guys being in there spots defensively,” Brown said.
The Blazers lost a lot of their firepower when Evan Scanlan fouled out with 5:12 remaining in the contest.That was followed by both Gunnar Norris and Jayden Stevens fouling out.
“That kind of changed what we do,” Brown said. “But I give my kids credit for battling through that. We had an opportunity there at the end and that is all that you can hope for.”
Cutlip said that he was happy with his team’s defense and that the offense will eventually come, but it was his kid’s effort that really caught his attention.
“I’m completely satisfied with the effort these kids are putting out on the floor. I don’t think I could ask for anything more in the effort column,” Cutlip said. “I think defensively, for this time of year, I think we have done an unbelievable job and I think we did a tremendous job tonight, because Boone is very capable of putting a lot of points on the board.
“Both teams struggled, it was an intensive battle, but we hung in there.”
Science Hill 14 5 9 13 — 41
Daniel Boone 7 8 13 11 — 39
Science Hill (41)
Bowden Lyon 17, Tate Wheeler 13, David Bryant 4, Colby Martin 2, Tyrique Price 1, Nate Jackson 1, Jaylan Adams 1, Andrew Bishop 1.
Daniel Boone (39)
Chad Heglar 19, Eric Rigsby 12, Justin Turner 4, Evan Scanlan 4.
3-pointers — Science Hill 1 (Bowden Lyon), Daniel Boone 3 (Chad Heglar 2, Eric Rigsby).
Effort isn’t always a given, but a play to end the third quarter showed the Lady Blazers it was possible.
After a steal led to two missed lay-ups but the silver lining came in a pair of offensive rebounds, followed by a lay-up by Jaycee Jenkins. That helped set the tone for the fourth quarter and give the Lady Blazers a 60-46 victory.
Jenkins went on to lead all scorers with 15 points, but it was Sydney Pearce who finished off the contest for Daniel Boone. The 6-foot-4 junior scored nine of the Lady Blazers 14 points to finish the contest, she would finish with 11 points on the night.
“That was a big play,” Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains said. “That is what we have to have.”
Mains said that he felt like the press wore down the Lady Toppers and then switching to a 2-3 zone forced Science Hill to take deep three pointers.
“We were worried when they went to a zone, they are just so hard to shoot over, they are just so long,” Science Hill coach Scott Whaley said. “But our kids played hard and they competed and there for three-and-a-half quarters we are right there with the best team in our league.”
Science Hill was led by Alasia Phillips who was the only Lady Toppers player to finish in double figures. Kaitlyn Phillips and Blair Henry each contributed eight while Symantha Fugate finished with seven points. The Lady Toppers held Science Hill to just six field goals in the first half, but they weren’t able to convert turnovers in to lay-ups.
“We lost that game in the first quarter,” Whaley said. “We had all the opportunties to go up double digits and we just weren’t able to do it.”
Montana Riddle and Macie Culbertson each contributed 10 points.
Science Hill 10 10 13 13 — 46
Daniel Boone 9 15 16 20 — 60
Science Hill (6-1)
Blair Henry 8, Kaitlyn Phillips 8, Nyrashia Love 4, Alasia Smith 11, A lison Gouveia 1, Courtney McCurry, LeAnn Scharberg 4, Symantha Fugate 7.
Daniel Boone (6-2)
Makenzy Bennett 1, Macie Culbertson 10, Cierra Thacker 1, Emily Sizemore 3, Jaycee Jenkins 15, Montana Riddle 10, Bayleigh Carmichel 9, Sydney Pearce 11.
3-pointers — Science Hill 2 (Courtney McCurry, Samantha Fugate), Daniel Boone 1 (Jaycee Jenkins).