Just when Science Hill appeared to have punched its state-tournament ticket, Maryville guard John Garrett scalped the Hilltoppers.
Garrett, a junior guard, made a game-winning 3-pointer deep from the right wing with 10 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Rebels to a 60-59 victory in a Class AAA sectional Monday at Science Hill.
The loss ended the Hilltoppers’ season at 37-3. It wasn’t over until Reed Hayes’ fading 9-foot bank shot didn’t draw iron at the buzzer. Hayes got the ball at the top of the lane on an inbounds pass from side frontcourt with 2.6 seconds left after Science Hill, then Maryville, each called a timeout.
“I thought we could get Reed on the move,” Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said. “We got the shot we wanted.”
Hayes led the Hilltoppers with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and his pair of free throws was good for a 52-47 lead with 1:27 left in regulation. Calvin Songster’s transition basket again stretched the lead to five (54-49) with 1:14 left and the lead was still five until Garrett’s off-the-dribble trey deep beyond the top of the key made it 54-52 with 55 seconds left.
It was Maryville’s first field goal in 8:52 – since 6-foot-4 post Clark McCall (18 points) drop-stepped for a scoop which gave the Rebels a 40-37 lead with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Garrett tied the score with a three-point play with 39 seconds remaining in regulation. The official waited some 10 seconds before signaling to count the basket on the 12-foot bank shot, much to the dismay of Cutlip and most of the fans in a crowd that appeared to exceed the 2,500 in attendance for the Dobyns-Bennett game at the end of the regular season.
Cutlip also didn’t like the non-whistle 38 seconds later when, after Science Hill had run down the clock in a four corners-looking formation, senior point guard Will Adams drove for a game-winner at the end of regulation.
Perhaps Science Hill spent all of its good fortune last week escaping with a one-point victory against Jefferson County in the regional semifinals after the Patriots’ potential game-winner at the buzzer seemed to hit every part of the iron.
“We didn’t get the breaks, the calls when we had to,” Cutlip said.
But Cutlip credited Maryville for making tough shots.
“We have two seniors (Marc Aples and Adams) foul out and we’re going without them, and that makes it extremely difficult (in overtime),” Cutlip said. “I thought our other kids stepped up. We had opportunity after opportunity to win the game.
“I thought the two defining plays was the NBA and-one (three-point play) late in the fourth quarter – we’ve got control of the game … and that’s a tough call right there. … And then obviously the 3-pointer there where we had the lead – that last three that the kid steps out and knocks down.”
Garrett said season-ending thoughts were creeping in before his late flurry. Of course, Maryville also had to rally past Powell in overtime in the regional semifinals.
“Any time you’re down five with less than a minute left there’s always thoughts like that racing through your head,” he said. “But we did that against Powell in the region semis … and I think in the back of our minds we knew that we could pull it out.”
Garrett didn’t know if his basket was going to count on the overtime-forcing three-point play.
“I didn’t,” he said. “He never made a signal or anything. He walked over to the scorer’s table and made a sign that it counted, and our fans – what few were here – went crazy.”
Science Hill finished 4 of 19 from 3-point range, while the bigger Rebels were 6 of 10 behind the arc. Bryan Landers, a 6-foot-3 inside-out player, made 3 of 6 treys, and both of Garrett’s treys were difficult shots under any circumstances.
Hayes’ inside basket via an assist from C.J. Good (12 points) gave Science Hill a 59-57 lead with 30 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Garrett, whose game-winner from the right wing came after a short drive and kick from Landers in the right corner.
“We ran something, either win it or lose it, and thank the good Lord that John just knocked it down,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said. “We laugh about John – he’s slow, he can’t jump, he’s not quick. But he’s a basketball player. … Much like Science Hill, we’ve got seven or eight guys who can score, and John just knew it was his turn tonight to score them at the end.”
Eldridge was also pleased that Landers made Hayes’ last shot a somewhat difficult leaner.
“We thought No. 14 (Hayes) would get it and he did,” Eldridge said. “And we just wanted to contest and make it be a tough shot, and it was.”
It was a bitter ending to a productive performance from Hayes, who lost two potential points when he had to leave the game with a bleeding head after getting fouled and the score tied at 46 with 3:28 left.
Songster stepped in for him and both of his foul shots touched nothing but net. Hayes returned a short time later fashioning a headband/band-aid.
Science Hill wouldn’t have had a chance without freshman point guard Patrick Good, who scored 14 points. He scored seven straight for the ‘Toppers at the end of the first half to trim a 10-point deficit to five at the half. He was also 7 of 8 at the foul line.
“Patrick made some huge plays,” Cutlip said.
Maryville, with a four-year starter (T.J. Kimble) and three-year starter (Garrett) in the backcourt, committed only 10 turnovers. Science Hill had three. But the Rebels shot 48 percent from the field while Science Hill shot 35 percent.
“That’s tough to overcome,” Cutlip said. “We had a lot of good looks. … We had multiple kids that made huge plays for us, but we just couldn’t make one more. … We had multiple threes that were probably the best looks we had all night in overtime.”
McCall led Maryville with 18. Garrett and Landers added 16 and 11, respectively. The Rebels’ size hurt Science Hill’s offense around the basket and helped them seal off the perimeter at times.
Cutlip said he was proud of his short team winning 37 games.
“What they’ve done is amazing,” he said. “We’re extremely disappointed, obviously, for it to end and end this way.”
Adams led Science Hill with four assists. C.J. Good, Patrick Good and Marc Aples (eight rebounds) each had two steals.
The ‘Toppers made 17 of 19 free throws. Maryville (28-7), which will open state tournament play next week, was 16 of 23 at the foul line.
Maryville returned its top six players from a team that lost to Science Hill in the sectional last season. Maryville also won a sectional at Science Hill en route to a state title in 2007.