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Hilltoppers kick play up a notch, roll over Falcons

Bill Lane • Jan 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — Bouncing back from its upset loss to Sullivan Central, Science Hill was the Science Hill of old Tuesday night.

The Hilltoppers turned Volunteer every which way but loose in a 70-39 Big 9 Conference basketball win on the floor where the District 1-AAA tournament will be played next month.

Science Hill (15-6, 8-2) outplayed the Falcons (7-11, 4-6) in all phases of the game.

Detric Hancock fired in 19 points and Josh Odem, who missed the last game because of a wardrobe malfunction, added 11. Odem didn’t play at Central because he left his jersey in Johnson City.

All told, eight Hilltoppers contributed to the scoring in this fast-paced contest.

“We were very aggressive getting the ball inside through passing and penetration,’’ Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “What I’m most happy about is our defensive intensity. We played hard without fouling people.

“Offensively, every one of our kids looked for the open man.’’

Jamison Hamilton distributed six assists for the Hilltoppers. Hancock, Odem, Dionte Grey and Hamilton had three steals apiece.

Science Hill caught Volunteer stone-cold. The Falcons made just one-third of their field goal attempts.

Keith Cradic and Aaron Bennett, the Falcons’ talented tandem, were limited to just 12 points. Cradic, who finished with 10, didn’t score until the 5:50 mark in the third quarter. Bennett got his only two points of the game 22 seconds later.

“Anytime those two players struggle,’’ Cutlip said, “it’s going to be tough on Volunteer.’’

Cradic was 3-for-13 from the floor, Bennett 1-for-8.

The Falcons’ only bright spots were Cameron Trent’s 10 rebounds and three blocked shots and an 11-point flurry by sophomore reserve guard Cody Moore closing the first half.

“If Moore hadn’t scored those 11 when he did,’’ Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore said, “it would have been much worse. Trent is gradually playing better.’’

Volunteer was without two starters — Javian Shivers and Jordan Sandidge — and its rebounding suffered.

“We missed two possible starting posts,’’ Whittemore said. “That gave up some toughness. We went with a four-guard lineup and it killed us on the boards. We just set the tone for being soft and played back on our heels.’’

Whittemore is keeping a close eye on the standings. “We’re trying to finish either fourth, fifth or sixth in the race,’’ he said. “We want to stay out of those two lower spots. As bad as this was tonight, we’ve got to put it behind us. We need to get back in the gym tomorrow and practice.’’

Science Hill’s Johneshia Good was smoking-hot from the outside in a 68-36 victory over the Lady Falcons.

In a seven-minute span of the first half, she fired in 19 points and finished the game with 29. She was credited with seven of Science Hill’s nine 3-point goals.

Coach Darrell Barnwell described it as “one of the best games we’ve played in a while.’’

It didn’t start out that way. Volunteer opened a quick 9-2 lead. Good soon found the range and the Hilltoppers rallied in a hurry. She sank four in a row from the arc to give her team a 21-15 lead and there was no looking back.

Volunteer fell apart in the third quarter.

“The third quarter has been killing us,’’ Volunteer coach Dennis Anderson said. “We went to the little gym at halftime and shot instead of going to the dressing room. We should not have gotten in an NBA track meet with Science Hill. Our kids play hard but there’s a mental thing about turnovers we’re dealing with.’’

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