By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The up and down style played by Science Hill in recent years returned to form on Friday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium. The Toppers in-your-face defense created turnovers which led to points in their 76-45 win over Johnson County.
It was the first game of the season for the Longhorns who didnt play bad at times. But a few spurts put together by the Hill would allow them to break the game open.
Johnson Countys head coach Austin Atwood summed up the night.
They played awfully well in the first half, said Atwood about Science Hill. Its tough to play your first game against that type of defensive pressure and athleticism. I knew we would have to score against them on almost every possession to stay in it. We got some good shots but we couldnt put it in the hole. They sped us up more than I would have liked but I did see some positive things too. The things we didnt do well are correctable. This was a good team for us to open our season with.
Johnson County hung tough in the early going.
A three-ball by Jose Guzman and baskets from Cody Bailie and Bud Icenhour allowed them to tie the game at 7-7 at the midway mark in the first.
Peyton Wingates tip-in fueled a 13-0 run that would extend the Toppers lead at 20-7.
That run spilled over into the second quarter which allowed the Toppers to build a 20-point advantage. They mounted a sizable 39-16 lead at the half and appeared to be headed for an easy win. But the Longhorns would find a way to fight back and make things interesting after being outscored at one point 22-2.
The Longhorns switched defenses to a 2-3 zone that gave the Hill fits for a while in the third.
Guzman and Bailie led the charge that enabled Johnson County to carve the 23-point deficit down to 15 with 4:07 showing. But they missed three free throws allowing the Toppers to run off eight straight points. They could never recover from that point.
I thought the intensity of our kids and their effort was amazing, said Science Hills head coach Ken Cutlip. Our first two quarters were great ones. We came out flat in the third quarter when they went zone and give Coach Atwood credit for that. Our defensive energy wasnt there at first but it finally came back and that allowed us to get more aggressive on the offensive end.
That pressure led to Johnson Countys shooting woes, a mere 20 percent in the first half. That almost matched their 19 turnovers committed.
They really came out and punched us in the mouth, then put that high pressure on us and turned us over, added Atwood. But we also missed a bunch of easy shots close in that we normally make.
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