But Tate Wheeler wasn’t about to let the Hilltoppers be shut down. Wheeler scored 11 first-half points and 15 overall to lead Science Hill to an 81-43 romp over the Vikings.
The Hilltoppers improved to 2-0 in the Big Seven Conference and 6-2 overall. Tennessee High fell to 0-1 and 2-4.
“We have a good shooter in David (Bryant) and that spreads out the floor for me,” said Wheeler, a 6-foot-4 senior post. “And when Jerriah’s (Love) in the game, he’s a great player and he gets me open. My teammates did a good job getting me open looks and I tried to capitalize on them.”
Tennessee High brought the pace to a crawl in the early going with a 2-0 lead three minutes into the game. However, Science Hill pulled ahead 13-6 at the end of the first quarter. After withstanding a Viking run to close the lead to one, the Hilltoppers moved ahead 32-19 at the half. Fittingly, the last basket was a put-back by the hustling Wheeler.
In the third quarter, Love, Science Hill’s talented point guard, had a stretch of six straight points as the ’Toppers more than doubled Tennessee High’s score before taking a 55-28 lead into the final period. Love ended with 13 points after exiting the game following a hard fall to the floor early in the fourth quarter.
Jake Matherne also ended with 15 points for and Kendle Cutlip scored 13. It was balanced with Science Hill pulling away.
With the ’Toppers active on the defensive end with 20 steals and 42 deflections, no Tennessee High player reached double digits. Aidan Carter and Christian Webb each had seven for the Vikings.
“I felt like our press wore them down over time,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “The biggest thing was we had active hands tonight and a lot of energy. We were getting our hands on the basketball, a lot of tips. It was a much more aggressive group tonight than we had on Friday night against D-B. I thought tonight the entire group came together and played with great effort.”
Science Hill 70, Tennessee High 37
The undefeated Lady ’Toppers (2-0, 8-0) made six 3-point goals in the first quarter to take a 20-4 lead and never looked back from there.
It was a 19-point margin by the half as the Lady Vikings (0-1, 3-4) struggled against Science Hill’s size and speed.
“Our kids did a lot of work shooting yesterday and it paid off today,” Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley said. “We’ve committed ourselves defensively. That’s what we hang our hats on and they were quick and athletic. And, then the way we played offensively, we just got on a roll.”
Alasia Smith led Science Hill on the offensive end with 17 points. Erin Egerbrecht and Nyrashai Love each hit three 3-point baskets. Egerbrecht ended with 12 points and Love with 11. Aliyanna Hill and Symanta Fugate each scored eight.
Hailie Hatcher and Adison Minor each had 11 points to lead Tennessee High.