BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
The Greenville boys started strong against the No. 2-ranked team in class AAA, Science Hill, but in the end the Hill Toppers were too strong as they ran away to a 76-37 victory Friday night.
"I was pleased with our effort but execution just wasn't excellent tonight," Greeneville head coach Brad Woolsey said. "They did a pretty good job executing and they wouldn't let us just pass the ball around to slow it down."
In the early going, Greeneville (20-9 overall) slowed the tempo, passing the ball around the perimeter in a methodical fashion and not allowing Science Hill (31-2) to take advantage of their speed that has plagued opponents all season.
With under three minutes to go in the first period Landon Duncan knocked down a three-pointer as the Hilltoppers' Patrick Good bodied him and sent him to the floor. Duncan earned a free toss and converted the four-point play to give Greeneville an early 7-2 lead.
Duncan led the Greene Devils with 17 points in the contest.
In the second quarter, Science Hill turned up the defensive intensity, trapping the Greene Devils in their half court sets and forcing them to turn the ball over. They turned those turnovers into quick buckets, scoring 31 points in the second quarter.
"We were trying to pass the ball around to kill the clock and they wouldn't let us. When they went to the trap they started turning us over and got away from us," Woolsey said.
Science Hill was led by forward Reed Hayes, who scored all 11 of his points in the second period, and C.J. Good, who scored nine in the second and 17 in the contest before making an early exit.
The Greene Devils were short handed with four major contributors watching the game in street clothes. Post Jacob Cobble and guards Zach Cobble, Hays Culbreth and Trevor Wright were unavailable for Friday's action, which forced Woolsey to look deep into bench for production.
The Greene Devils scored only six points in the fourth quarter but all six points were scored by players who were called up to the varsity squad during the season. Logan Morrison laid one off the glass for two points, Desmond Dabs knocked in one from the charity stripe and Raheem Young scored three in fourth.
Young, a freshman forward, was second on the team in scoring with 11 points.
Woolsey said,"It's hard without some of our guys but those guys who came played hard and I was pleased with what they gave us."
Will Adams was also in bouble figures for the Hilltoppers with 15 points.
No. 2 science hill girls roll
The Science Hill girls were bigger, faster and stronger than Greeneville and powered their way to a 78-31 victory.
"Our effort was much better in the first half and I was very pleased with that," Greeneville coach Lesley Murray said. "They're one of the best teams in the state for a reason and are very tough competition, but I felt we handled their pressure better and hopefully we can carry that over to the tournament.
The Lady Toppers, ranked second in class AAA, started the game on a 10-1 run and never looked back. Morgan Knack knocked down a pair from behind the arc and MTSU signee Shy Copney dropped in another to start things quickly for Science Hill.
Center Gabby Lyon made her presence felt in the paint as she racked up eight points in the first quarter. Science Hill led by as many as 14 points in the opening period but a buzzer-beating three by Lorena Leon closed the gap to 23-12 at the end of one period.
The Hill Toppers' quick-handed guard Tiana Tarter made life difficult on the Lady Greene Devils in the second period. She converted her pestering defensive presence into seven second-quarter points as part of her 13-point night.
Copeney led Science Hill with 17 points and Lyon added 14, all from the field.
Out of intermission, Science Hill put the game out of reach, outscoring the Lady Greene Devils, 24-4 in the third quarter.
One bright spot for Greeneville was the performance of freshman guard Mindy Neas. Neas came off the bench and dropped in nine points to lead Greeneville.
The Lady Green Devils will have to shake off the loss that ends their regular season as they head into district tournament action next week.
Murray said,"Hopefully it won't be hard to regroup. We finished our conference season with three straight wins and hopefully we can carry that over to the tournament."