Enter Jake Matherne.
The Hilltoppers’ 6-foot-5 junior had a night to remember at the expense of Volunteer in a 79-49 win. Matherne cut loose for a career-high 24 points while also adding 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shot in one of the best all-around games by a Science Hill player in quite some time.
Matherne is becoming a big-time paint threat, something the Hilltoppers sorely need.
“He needs to be a little more consistent, but at times he is dominant,” said Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip. “He’s done a really good job on the boards all year. He just needs to be more consistent scoring.
“(Tonight) a lot of the credit goes to the rest of our players. I think they were doing a good job of getting Jake the ball in the right spots where he can be effective. He’s really stepping up and helping us.”
Science Hill (3-1) moved past Volunteer (2-1) into second place in the Big Seven Conference, and the Hilltoppers (9-9) got back to the .500 mark for the season.
JAKE’S BIG NIGHT
Matherne had only six points at halftime, and had drawn some ire from Cutlip for missing a couple of shots early.
But Matherne was unstoppable at times in the third quarter, totaling 13 points.
“The big emphasis all week from practice was getting the ball down in the post, not just to me but to Hunter (Phillips) and Drew (Morrison) as well,” said Matherne. “I think our guards did a great job of that.”
Matherne said it was a fun evening.
“Any time you get it going like that, it’s a thrill,” he said.
FALLING BEHIND EARLY
Science Hill scored the first nine points of the game, and Volunteer never found its footing. The Hilltoppers led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter, and stretched the lead to 32-14 by halftime.
“I thought our kids battled, and I think we played extremely hard,” said Falcons’ head coach Mike Poe. “I told our players before the game we had to get off to a good start. The one thing about playing Science Hill with their depth is making them have to keep their front-line players in longer. We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make at the right time.”
Science Hill got a nice game from Kendle Cutlip, who knocked down a four-spot of trey balls and finished with 16 points.
Will Stevens also put together a strong effort with 11 points and five assists. Laithen Shingledecker also had five assists.
For Volunteer, Eli Churchwell led the way. He had four 3-pointers and totaled 16 points. Chance Johnson contributed 11 points for the Falcons, who fell to 5-10 on the season.