KINGSPORT – The guys at former Douglass High School would be proud of how the Dobyns-Bennett boys’ basketball team did on Friday night.
Wearing the old-school powder blue and gold colors with “Tigers” on his jerseys, DB dominated Science Hill when it mattered most, taking a 55-48 victory in an early season showdown with the Big 5 Conference at the Buck Van Huss Dome.
The Hilltoppers graced old Langston High and wore the royal blue and dark gold colors of the Golden Tigers, who concluded their rivalry with Douglass in 1965.
The Indians (8-3, 1-0) overcame a scary start to secure the win, drawing even at half-time and then bringing it to the Hilltoppers in the final 16 minutes.
Hats off to Dobyns-Bennett, admitted Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip. “They were the better team in the last two quarters. We did too many turnovers in the second half and just didn’t execute.
The Indians were basically horrible in the first seven minutes, missing 11 of their opening 12 shots and committing three early turnovers to lead 13-5.
“There was a lot of energy in the building, you know… Douglass night and Science Hill in town,” said Tribe coach Chris Poore. “The guys were excited and we just had to sit down and play basketball.
“We had guys who made plays and I thought Carter (Metz) started early which really helped calm our nerves.”
Poore’s three-headed guard lineup of Metz, Jonavan Gillespie and Brady Stump helped transform the game for the Indians.
Stump kept DB within earshot with the first seven points before Gillespie and Metz started in due course as the tribe retreated.
Pushing Gillespie scored all of his 10 points in the second period, including a 3-point rainbow bomb to tie the game at 30 at the halftime buzzer.
Metz, a transfer from Cherokee who averaged 21 points per outing last season, produced four buckets in the second quarter in various ways.
“He’s good and I was happy to see him,” said Poore. “He’s been reserved for us and we really want him to come out of that shell. Tonight was a good step forward.
A 6-foot senior with ample play, Metz is happy to make the difference at DB.
“It was a blessing, from the coaching staff to all the players,” said Metz, who led all scorers with 17 points on 7 of 13 shots from the ground. “They all welcomed me with open arms and it has definitely changed my life.
“I just play with the team and I play my part. The punches would come at me, so I would take them. I’m really happy to help us win this one.
HALE TAKES FOLLOW-UP
Malachi Hale helped transport the tribe to the Promised Land, scoring 12 of his 15 points after the intermission.
“Malachi does a lot for us,” said Poore. “In the biggest games, he plays the biggest roles. He did it on both sides for us tonight.
A powerful 6-4 senior with finesse, Hale also provided a stopping defense over standout ‘Toppers Jamar Livingston, who scored 16 points but was calm after his three-point play gave Science Hill their final lead at 38-37 with 2:36 to play. the third.
Hale provided two three-point plays, hit a 15-foot jumper and scored twice in transition – including a quick-breaking dunk – to bring DB home.
Remember, sixth man McKinley Tincher landed a key 3-point shot as the Indians overcame their 38-37 deficit to lead 46-38 heading into the final quarter.
“He (Tincher) hit a huge blow and he did it defensively,” said Poore. “I love putting him in the game on our first rotation and he handles that role really well.”
NOT ENOUGH OFFENSE
Keynan Cutlip scored 15 points, but it was not enough for Science Hill (8-2, 0-1).
“At the end of the day, Keynan and Jamar both need to play better,” said coach Cutlip.