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Vikings deal Hilltoppers first Big 7 defeat

Douglas Fritz • Jan 25, 2020 at 2:51 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Living on the edge several times since the calendar turned to 2020, the Science Hill boys finally got bumped into the Big 7 Conference loss column.

Tennessee High came alive offensively down the stretch — especially Blake Fauver — and earned a tight 65-60 win over the Hilltoppers in a basketball game at Viking Hall on Friday night.

Tennessee High (17-7, 5-3) handed the Hilltoppers (22-2, 6-1) — the fourth-ranked Class AAA team in Tennessee — their first loss against an in-state opponent.

“It was evident to me (the Vikings) just wanted the game more than our kids tonight,” said Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip. “Those little plays that are loose balls, on the floor, tips up in the air, and who’s going to come down with it; they won the majority of the 50-50 balls.

“Tennessee High was a hungry team. People questioned whether they were the best team in the league. The way they played tonight I would say they are the best team in the league.”

Science Hill led 49-44 going into the fourth quarter before Fauver started heating up. He finished with 12 points, including 10 in the final period, and seven rebounds.

“My teammates set me up with the perfect opportunity, and I just started getting in the groove,” he said. “Every single shot I made was off an assist.”

Cole McBrayer also stepped up for Tennessee High, twice hitting both ends of 1-plus-1 opportunities in the fourth quarter. He made three treys in the game and finished with 15 points.

Mchale Bright did his damage throughout the game and finished with 16 points for the Vikings. Nolan Wishon totaled nine points and 10 rebounds.

“We just isolated him at the start of the fourth quarter. We felt he could take his guy, and he made some big buckets,” Vikings coach Roby Witcher said of Fauver. “It was two really good teams fighting each other. It comes down to who makes shots and who makes plays.”

Keynan Cutlip led Science Hill with 15 points, Hunter Phillips added 14 and Jake Matherne had nine points and nine rebounds.

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