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Lady 'Toppers survive Rebels, set sail for Murfreesboro

From staff reports • Mar 3, 2019 at 1:36 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Alasia Smith and Jeila Greenlee combined to score all but nine of Science Hill’s points and the Lady Hilltoppers overcame 10 missed free throws in the fourth quarter to earn a 55-52 win over Maryville in the Class AAA girls basketball sectionals Saturday.

Science Hill (33-1), which reached the state tournament in Murfreesboro for the first time since 2013, will find out on Sunday who its opening-round opponent will be. The Class AAA quarterfinals are split between Wednesday and Thursday.

“Our kids earned respect for every team in our district,” said Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley. “We don’t get a lot of respect up here sometimes. I could not be happier for our kids with the guts they showed, and the assistant coaches for the work they put in. I also want to thank Darrell Barnwell and Keith Turner for giving me a chance and starting this. And there was great crowd support tonight, too.”

After Maryville made 1 of 2 free throws to take a 52-51 lead, Smith rebounded the miss and handed off to Greenlee. She brought it up the court, drove hard to the block, created space and banked in a soft jumper with 42.2 seconds to go.

Maryville threw the ball out of bounds on the next possession and fouled Greenlee on the inbounds pass. She missed both free throws, and Courtney Carruthers missed a good look from 3-point range on the other end.

Erin Egerbrecht was fouled with 15.8 seconds remaining, and she calmly drilled both tosses.

“I was just thinking we were this close, and we worked so hard for this,” Egerbrecht said. “We wanted this so badly, and I needed to finish it off.”

After another missed Maryville 3-point attempt, Smith was fouled after the rebound. She missed both free throws, but the Lady Rebels threw away the ball on the inbounds pass. Smith came up with the loose ball and time expired.

Smith finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots despite Maryville seemingly throwing its entire roster at her. The Lady Rebels wound up being whistled for 25 total fouls with a boatload of those sending Smith to the foul line for 20 attempts.

“I felt like it was hard for them to guard me, but I still went up strong and did what I had to do,” Smith said.

Denae Fritz totaled 13 points, 16 rebounds and three assists to lead Maryville (30-4). Carruthers added 13 points and three steals.

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