Ervin nets 49 as Gate City sprints by Science Hill

Tanner Cook • Dec 21, 2018 at 11:19 PM

Gate City senior basketball player Zac Ervin had some big shoes to fill after Mac McClung graduated in the spring. So far this season, he has welcomed the challenge and stepped up in a big way.

On Friday night inside the new Science Hill Gym, the Blue Devils got an interstate 88-73 win against Science Hill and it was fueled by Ervin’s 49 points.

“This was a big win. This is a tough place to play and we played tough,” Ervin said. “Science Hill made some great runs and we showed a lot of resilience not letting it get to us and pulling away every time.”

Bradley Dean finished with a season-high 24 for Gate City.

Jake Matherne led a slew of 10 Science Hill scorers with 21 points. Kendle Cutlip and Will Stevens were also in double figures for the ’Toppers, netting 12 and 11, respectively.

The Blue Devils (4-0) jetted out to a 22-10 lead after the first quarter behind solid shooting from behind the arc and some untimely Hilltopper turnovers. There were some “overrated” chants coming from the Science Hill student section early on, but it seemed to just fuel Ervin. 

The Devils simply were hitting everything in the first half and it was exemplified when Ervin hit a running 3-pointer at the horn to put Gate City up 49-30 at the half.

However, Science Hill (8-7) would not go away quietly. The team came out of the locker room on fire, putting together a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to seven points midway through the third quarter.

“We missed too many shots early and we dug ourselves a hole,” Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip said. “We got it back to six or seven in the second half and we couldn’t get over the hump. They’re an outstanding offensive team and when they’re able to get to the free throw line 25 times and shoot it effectively, making it 22 times, that’s hard to beat. That and shooting 53 percent from 3-point range is tough to overcome.”

Science Hill made the game interesting several times in the fourth quarter, bothering the Blue Devils with a pesky 1-2-2 press.

However, the Devils never relinquished the lead once they got it, leading from wire-to-wire and pushing the lead back out when the ’Toppers got close.

“We maintained our composure even though we made some foolish float passes,” Gate City head coach Scott Vermillion said. “That’s why we scheduled Science Hill and that’s why we play good teams. It’s to expose those things and show film to them of how we turned it over.”

In the end, Cutlip said that too many unforced errors and offensive inconsistency plagued the Hilltoppers.

Up next for both teams is the Arby’s Classic. Gate City will play Winona (Ala.) while Science Hill will play Carmel Christian (Ga.). The tournament in Viking Hall begins Wednesday.


Science Hill 56, Gate City 20

The Lady Hilltoppers (11-2) got 16 points from junior sharpshooter Erin Egerbrecht and pounded the Lady Blue Devils (5-2). Science Hill’s defense was a big key, allowing just five made field goals the whole game.

Science Hill got out to a 25-6 lead early in the second quarter. Size along with superior speed were the noticeable differences between the two teams.

“We played a little bit more zone press tonight after watching them against Boone the other day,” Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley said. “Our kids went out and played well. We rebounded and shared the basketball really well. It was an all-around great performance. It’s been a long week for us with finals and all of that stuff.”

Jeila Greenlee and Alasia Smith each finished with 11 for Science Hill, which shot well from the outside — making seven 3-pointers.

No one for Gate City scored in double figures. Jaden Fullen had six points to lead the Lady Devils.

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