Maryville solves Science Hill riddle
By John Brice | (email@example.com)
JOHNSON CITY — Two words, one shot and simply a season on the line.
Maryville guard Jon Garrett had kissed his baseline jumper off the glass, but he needed to convert an old-school three-point play to keep afloat the Rebels’ hopes of their first state tournament appearance since the 2007 title.
So Clark McCall, clutch all night, offered simple instructions to the Maryville quarterback-turned-point-guard: “Don’t miss.”
Garrett, of course, did not. He swished the charity toss, capping his personal eight-straight points in regulation, and then hit the biggest shot in Rebels’ annals since Ryan Click’s state championship winner with a 3 from the right wing.
“I said these are big, man. But I knew he’d knock them down because he’s ice-cold at the line,” said McCall, who returned to the lineup with a team-best 18 points after missing the region championship due to illness. “He’s a big-shot player.”
Maryville lives on, its next game in Murfreesboro in the TSSAA Class AAA State Tournament. Science Hill’s season is halted at 37-3.
“We’re always under what (football coach George) Quarles does,” joked MHS coach Mark Eldridge, architect of the program’s rise to unprecedented heights. “I told the guys I think this is the only team that’s gone back-to-back sub-state games. And definitely the only team that’s went to sub-state and state the following year.”
It looked late as though the Toppers would again stymie Maryville’s season one game — really, one quarter — short of a return engagement in Murfreesboro. Science Hill trailed by 10 late in the second but upped its defensive intensity and leaned on freshman point guard Patrick Good, who dropped to the floor disconsolate when senior teammate Reed Hayes’ runner down the right side of the line couldn’t find its mark and the Rebels celebrated.
Good closed with 17 for the perennial powerhouse Toppers.
After McCall, B.J. Landers and Isaac Edmiston did the heavy lifting for Maryville through much of the first three quarters, Garrett would not be denied late in regulation to secure four critical overtime minutes for the Rebels’ state tournament hopes.
The Rebels (28-7), so versatile offensively, saw that staple struggle late in the third frame and throughout most of the fourth. They went more than 8:45 without a basket but hit enough free throws to stay within striking distance until Garrett’s last-gasp heroics. The wily guard hit two free throws with 77 seconds to play, drilled a critical 3 with 56 seconds and then scored what proved to be the overtime-forcing and-one with 39.2 seconds.
“The past two years, we’ve had a bunch of just grind-them-out-games in the postseason, and they have confidence in me to get me the ball at the end and get fouled and usually there’s a pretty good outcome,” said Garrett. “I like to be in control at the end of the game, but I don’t always have to make the shot. We’ve got five guys that can hit from anywhere on the floor at any time in the game.”
Maryville, thanks to its strong perimeter shooting, forged out to as much as as 10-point lead on the final of McCall’s first-half buckets. But the Rebels couldn’t score across the final 90 seconds, and the Toppers capitalized on a 5-point spree from freshman Patrick Good. The 5-foot-10 guard stole the ball off a Maryville defensive rebound, hit his two free throws after he was fouled and then closed the first-half scoring with a 3 from the top of the key.
Maryville had built a modest first-quarter edge with its work inside. The Rebels scored often in the paint, and Landers shushed the nearly sold-out crowd when he soared to jam through an alley-oop dunk. The athletic senior closed with 11 points, drilling a team-high three 3-pointers.
“It means everything, man. We’re so excited to get back there. It’s awesome,” McCall said of the state tournament berth.
Added Garrett, “It means a lot. Coming from Maryville, which is not traditionally a basketball but as of late. To be the first team to go back after that state championship run means a lot.”
State AAA Sectional
MARYVILLE 60, Science Hill 59, OT
M 18 13 13 11 5 — 60
SH 14 12 18 11 4 — 59
MARYVILLE (28-7)— Clark McCall 18; Jon Garrett 16; B.J. Landers 11; Edmiston 8; Kimble 5; Wilson 2
SCIENCE HILL (37-3)— Patrick Good 17; Reed Hayes 15; Adams 9; C.J. Good 7; Aples 7; Songster 4.
3-POINTERS— M 6 (Landers 3, McCall 2, Garrett); SH 4 (P. Good 2, Hayes, C.J. Good)