On Friday night, the Hilltoppers scored a pair of nonconference wins, knocking off Abingdon 73-55 and Johnson County 71-64.
Jake Matherne scored 19 points to lead Science Hill (2-0) in the opener and added 10 against the Longhorns.
“I’m extremely pleased with Jake in both games. He was very effective for us,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “Drew Morrison had two outstanding games and he’s probably one of the most skilled players we have. He’s only going to get better as he starts to get out of football mode. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter.”
An undersized Abingdon team didn’t offer much of a test, and the Hilltoppers lived in the paint. Morrison added 13 points to Science Hill’s effort.
Jake Thacker led the Falcons with 12 points.
The primary difference in the Hilltoppers vs. Longhorns matchup was a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter during which Johnson County missed nine straight shots and Science Hill took a 10-point lead.
“We exerted a lot of energy in the first game. Really except for a small stretch there, I thought we outplayed them,” Longhorns coach Austin Atwood said. “We didn’t execute late, which is what really makes me mad because we executed late well last year. In the second game, we didn’t execute at all. They were just tired.”
Blake Atwood had a solid game for Johnson County, pouring in 18 points and handing out nine assists. Troy Arnold had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Longhorns (1-1).
JOHNSON COUNTY 66, SULLIVAN NORTH 52
The Longhorns came out sluggish against a Golden Raiders team that’s been depleted by injuries from football season and had just nine active players.
Still, Sullivan North led 10-9 at the end of one quarter after both teams had trouble finding their range.
Johnson County opened up a 28-22 lead at the half against a tough zone defense that was keeping the Raiders in the game.
The Longhorns finally got going in the fourth quarter, scoring 25 points, though the Raiders didn’t go quietly.
North got back within eight points down the stretch, but the Longhorns pulled away as the Raiders grew increasingly weary.
‘We have a really short bench, a really young team with two seniors that didn’t play last year,” North coach Travis Cain said. “We’re going to have some growing pains, but the kids played really hard at times — but we didn’t play smart at times.
“Zack Scott played hard and so did Evan Bishop. Evan is a transfer, so we have some pieces. But we have to figure out the right mix and where to put everybody.”
Bishop had 16 points to lead North and Scott had 12.
Atwood scored 23 points, Lucas Phillips 13 and Michael Oxentine 10 for Johnson County.