Science Hill edges Cloudland

By C.Y.. Peters

   From the opening toss of the first quarter to the final three point shot of the game, the Science Hill-Cloudland girls game was fun and furious.
   Rachel Ward gave the 'Toppers the first lead of the game scoring on the first possession in the Thanksgiving tip-off tournament at Happy Valley High. Taukia Hughes sank two foul shots to tie the game for the first time in many ties on the night.
   Drew Wilson tossed in three baskets in the first quarter and Hughes scored nine for the Landers, as Science Hill held a two point advantage 17-15 at the end of one.
   The second quarter saw a lot of free throw attempts, as Cloudland was at the line 13 times, connecting on 10 of them, while the toppers hit 2 of 5. In the first two shots Cloudland connected on baskets by Nikki Webb and Hughes to take a 19-17 lead.
   All the way through the second the score was tied. At 17, 19,21,23,25 the teams traded baskets until Natasha Benfield gave the Landers a one point lead at 28-27 with 1:40 left before the half.
   Rachel ward tied the score on a 10 foot jump shot, then the teams traded foul shots and once again the score was tied at 31 for the half. Just before the half Alisha Dill split two defenders to hit a beautiful jump shot for the Toppers.
   Science Hill scored first in the third, then Hughes evened the score at 33. Turnovers and a full court press by the Landers gave them a 40-35 cushion midway through the third. The Toppers battled back as Wilson pulled the Toppers within two 46-44.
   The Landers held the lead till 36 seconds left when Dill hit back to back shots and gave the Toppers a 54-51 lead after three. Science Hill tossed in 23 points to the Landers 20 for the period.
   The fourth saw the Toppers pull out to a 12 point lead 66-54 with 3:41 left to play, but the 'Landers wasn't finished and wouldn't say uncle.
   Hughes went to the line eight times in the fourth, hitting seven and pulling the Landers closer and closer. Amy Storie got hot and couldn't miss in the final two minutes throwing in eight points all in a row shaving the 'Topper lead to 68-66. The Landers were forced to foul as the 'Toppers went into the stall and with 21 seconds left Dill went to the line.
   She hit the first, but missed the second. The 'Landers now would take a time out and set up the last shot of the game. A 20 foot shot fell short with two seconds left but was touched by a 'Topper and gave Cloudland a second chance to score, but this shot also fell short and the Toppers won 69-66. Hughes scored 29 for the Landers, Storie tallied 11.
   Dill led Science Hill with 21, followed by Wilson and Megan Aldridge with 15 and 14.
   Coach Matt Birchfield said, "They pressured us real good. The Dill girl is a real good player. We were down 12 and fought back. We played hard and they have a good ball club."