By JON REITER
It’s always a family affair when the Silver Creek girls’ basketball team plays their annual contest against South Central.
“I always game plan and talk strategy with dad, and this week, it was like pulling teeth,” said Dragons’ coach Scott Schoen, who faced off against his father Randall’s Rebels squad and had dinner with him earlier in the week. “It’s a fun game because I know all their kids of course — and because I want to see them all do well. It’s fun to coach against Dad, but I don’t want to get beat by him because then I have to hear about it.”
Since Schoen took over the Silver Creek program in 2010, his squad has gone 3-0 against South Central, including a 57-40 win on Wednesday.
Scott was a long-time assistant under his father at South Central, helping him lead the program to seven sectional and two regional championships and a state finals appearance in 2006.
As for Wednesday’s contest, the visiting Rebels (5-12) kept things tight well into the second quarter, taking a 18-15 lead when guard Kelsey Miller nailed a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 3:49 remaining in the first half.
From that point forward, Silver Creek buried South Central with a 14-0 closing first half run, with Emily Clayton, Lexi McFarland and Tori Martin hitting from beyond the arc, and Kira Jamros following up a miss to cap the Dragon run with 22 seconds remaining.
Silver Creek led at the half 29-18.
Following the Miller 3-pointer, Silver Creek forced South Central into seven turnovers over the remainder of the first half.
“I felt like whenever we did make a run, their defense came at us and forced us to play a little bit tighter,” said Randall Schoen. “Once they got those turnovers and started making some baskets that really made it tough on us.”
The Rebels made another run at the Dragons, narrowing the margin to 35-30 late in the third quarter after back-to-back baskets from Samantha Turner with less than two minutes remaining. But a short jumper and a converted foul shot by Clayton and 3-pointer by McFarland made the margin 41-30 at the end of the third quarter.
The hosts enjoyed a comfortable lead throughout the final frame.
Silver Creek was led by Clayton, who finished with 16 points, and McFarland and center Alex Tinsley each added 11. The Dragons were plus-8 in the turnover margin (17-9) and outrebounded South Central 27-19.
“We made shots,” Scott Schoen said. “When you make shots, it gives you the opportunity to be a little more aggressive offensively. You can’t depend on your offense to create your energy though. We did some things on defense that really helped carry us through.”
Miller led all scores with 23 points and Turner added 14.
“It’s not a fun game for me, because there’s a part of you that wants to beat him so bad, but at the same time, you don’t really want to do that either,” Randall Schoen said with a grin. “I wouldn’t even care if we didn’t even play it.”
Silver Creek travels to Scottsburg Saturday.