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Hilltoppers hold off determined Crockett

Douglas Fritz • Updated Jan 8, 2019 at 10:49 PM

Two things happened Tuesday night in Jonesborough.

Science Hill won, but David Crockett showed signs of becoming that team nobody wants to play in a district tournament elimination game. The Pioneers hung tough throughout, but came up on the short end of a 72-64 decision on their home court.

Improving to 4-1 in the Big Seven Conference, Science Hill moved its overall record to 10-9. Crockett (5-13 overall) fell to 1-4 in the league.

DIFFERENCE MAKERS

Jake Matherne and Drew Morrison were bright spots for the Hilltoppers. Matherne authored 14 points and 12 rebounds while Morrison added 13 points and 12 rebounds — with the bulk of his points coming in a rock-solid second-half performance.

“Drew really stepped up for us,” said Science Hill head coach Ken Cutlip. “I’m really proud of how selfless he has become, especially the last couple of weeks.”

FINAL MINUTES

There were several different points in the game where it seemed like Science Hill was going to take full control and push Crockett aside. But time after time, the Pioneers went on a spurt to stay within striking distance.

It happened again late in the fourth quarter as Crockett cut a double-digit deficit to six points at 64-58 before coming up with back-to-back steals. The first one was followed by a Crockett turnover while the second one netted only one free throw to make it 64-59.

Matherne followed with a beastly offensive rebound and stick back to edge the Hilltoppers back out to a seven-point lead. Crockett couldn’t get any closer to the finish.

“In the second half, they came out with a little more aggressiveness than we did,” said Cutlip. “And we just missed some good shots. And by us missing shots, that gave Crockett some momentum. That allowed them to get back in the game.”

CROCKETT’S VIEWPOINT

Pioneers’ head coach John Good said his kids kept fighting.

“That’s one thing, our kids have never quit all year,” he said. “If we’re ever going to win another game, it’s going to be by playing hard. It’s not going to be by wowing anyone with our athleticism. We have to compete.”

STANDOUTS

For Science Hill, Kendle Cutlip knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 13 points. Will Stevens added seven points, four assists and four rebounds.

Crockett got a terrific game from Donta Hackler, who led all scorers with 23 points. Mack Hensley added 13 points while John Kollie totaled 10.

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