The Lady Hilltoppers lost to Dobyns-Bennett in their first meeting, beat them narrowly the second time, and this time steamrolled the Lady Indians 59-37 in the championship of District 1-AAA girls basketball tournament at Snyder Gym on Monday.
It was Science Hill’s first title since 2015. The Lady Hilltoppers (27-3) will host Morristown East in Friday’s regional quarterfinal contest.
View the championship game photos
“I’m just happy for our kids,” said Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley. “From the weight lifting to all the sprints we ran in the fall, the kids hung in and stayed with us. They’ve played hard and been business-like. This is great for our team.”
D-B (26-6) will also be at home Friday, facing a Jefferson County team that defeated the Lady Indians in their most recent matchup.
JEILA’S BIG NIGHT
Jeila Greenlee played arguably the best game of her young career on her biggest stage so far. The sophomore finished with 23 points, six assists and five steals for Science Hill.
“She played great tonight,” Whaley said. “She is getting better and better every game. She’s a natural scorer, and she played a great defensive game. I’m glad she plays for us.”
Greenlee said she was aggressive, which opened up a lot of things.
“All you have to do it attack and it will open up,” she said. “If they are open, you will be open. It’s a lot easier when you have people to help you.”
Symantha Fugate also played a big role in the win. Fugate finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Alasia Smith chipped in with 14 points and five rebounds.
Maddie Richmond hit what Whaley called the biggest shot of the game, nailing a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter after Science Hill had only two points prior to her basket.
D-B didn’t give up even when the Lady Hilltoppers seemed to have the game in hand. After Science Hill opened up a 34-17 lead in the third quarter, the Lady Indians closed the period with an 11-4 run to cut the deficit to 10 points heading to the fourth quarter.
Science Hill regrouped with a strong start to the fourth, opening with a 11-4 spurt of its own for a 49-32 lead.
The first quarter was mostly an exercise in offensive futility with both teams seemingly affected by the championship moment. Turnovers were plentiful and neither team managed to find good looks against stingy defensive efforts.
After trailing 8-5 at the end of one quarter, Science Hill went on a 13-0 run that was sparked by the all-over-the-court play of Greenlee.
The Lady Indians got an ice-breaking 3-pointer from Jaden Potts to stem the tide for their first points of the quarter nearly five minutes in. But the Lady Hilltoppers closed strong and took a 28-15 edge into the locker room.
Potts, a sophomore point guard, had a good game in a losing cause. She finished with five points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Courtney Whitson finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Lady Indians coach Bill Francis said Science Hill had a lot to do with his team’s struggles.
“They can really get up on you and bully you sometimes,” Francis said. “It’s just like they took us out of our rhythm.”
LADY ’BLAZERS TAKE THIRD
Daniel Boone made the most of a third-place game, battling through a somewhat sluggish performance to earn a 56-49 victory over Cherokee.
“Maybe there was a letdown,” said Lady Trailblazers coach Beau Hauldren. “Obviously they were disappointed the other night. I think more so than anything Cherokee wanted it a little more tonight. They were a little more active defensively. They played harder than we did. It looked like they were ready to go.
“But we won, so we’re happy.”
Daniel Boone (21-10) will travel to play Morristown West in Friday’s region quarterfinals.
Cherokee (18-12) will also be on the road, visiting Sevier County.
Bayleigh Carmichel had the hot hand for Boone. She finished with 20 points, making four treys and fashioning an 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line.
Teammate Jaycie Jenkins battled her way through traffic on drives to the basket and finished with 15 points.
The Lady Chiefs got a terrific effort from Mataylin Goins. She scored 19 points, evenly spaced across four quarters, and also added five steals.
Goins’ performance was complemented by Harper Russell, who totaled 14 points.