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Clark County Sports

February 13, 2014

CLASS 3A SECTIONAL: Barnett, Scott lead Creek to 60-54 win over Salem

Scott dedicates 26-point, 12-rebound performance to fallen friend

CHARLESTOWN — Alexis Barnett swears she doesn’t know how it happened. Kelsi Scott knew exactly what she was doing.

The combination was nothing short of breathtaking.

Barnett had buzzer-beating baskets at the end of each of the first two quarters, while Scott dominated the inside to the tune of 26 points and 12 rebounds. Barnett, Scott and their Silver Creek teammates moved on to the next round of the Class 3A Charlestown Sectional with a 60-54 win over Salem on Wednesday.

After falling into a 14-2 hole early and looking as if it might get blown out of the postseason, Silver Creek — with Scott and Barnett doing the heavy lifting — used a rotating cast of heroes to rally past Salem and earn the right to continue its season.

The Dragons will meet Madison, a 56-42 winner over Corydon Central in Wednesday’s second first-round contest, in the second of two semifinals on Friday.

Tourney host Charlestown added an air of uncertainty to the tournament with its upset victory over Brownstown on Tuesday and will meet Mid-Southern Conference champion Scottsburg in the first semifinal, with the winners advancing to play on Saturday night for the sectional title and a berth in the regional.  

Silver Creek’s victory on Wednesday was anything but certain until the final minute. In fact, it looked downright unlikely.

Salem blasted out of the gates with the game’s first 11 points, getting 3-pointers from Sadie Soliday and Danielle Voyles, along with two baskets from junior Alex Davidson, whose hot start was only cooled when she picked up her second foul less than five minutes in.

It took Silver Creek more than four minutes to find the scoreboard on a driving layup by freshman Haley Baxter, which Voyles immediately answered with a 3 to make it 14-2.

That’s when Scott, a six-foot junior center, emerged from the Silver Creek bench.

She followed a Barnett free throw with the game’s next five points, knocking down three free throws and scoring on a soft jump hook off a perfect entry pass from Baxter. Scott kept the Dragons afloat through another offensive burst from the Lions, getting a layup off another pass from Baxter to make it 17-10.

Salem appeared the grab the momentum back with two free throws from Soliday to go up 19-10 with 3.5 seconds left.

It was all the time that Barnett needed.

The junior guard took the ball and sprinted down the right side of the court, before coming to a jump stop and firing over the outstretched arms of two Salem defenders. The 25-footer found the bottom of the net at the buzzer, sending the Dragons into the second quarter down by only six at 19-13.

Barnett’s magical shot ended up being worth a lot more than three points to Silver Creek, which gave up the first basket of the second period before going on a 9-1 tear — six of the points coming from Scott and the other 3 on a tray by Barnett — to complete the comeback.

Salem managed to open another lead to 29-24 heading into the intermission, when Silver Creek’s dynamic duo struck again. Scott scored on another hook in the lane to cut the gap to three, when Barnett found the magic again, taking an outlet from Scott and rushing the rim for a layup with a second left to go.

“I swear I don’t do it on purpose,” said Barnett, who finished with 12 points and four rebounds. “But I guess it was just supposed to happen. It’s not for me, it’s to help my team.”

It also seemed like destiny for Scott, who earlier in the day found out that family friend Scott Bostock had passed away and dedicated Wednesday’s effort to him. She gave Silver Creek its first lead on the opening score of the second half and a three-point cushion by putting back her own miss to make it 34-31.

“It never crossed our minds that we would lose,” said an emotional Scott after the game. “Every play, we tried to play like it was the last sectional we’d ever play in. You never know what can happen.”

Despite blowing such a commanding lead, Salem wasn’t ready for its sectional to end, either. The Lions took every blow Silver Creek dished out, reclaiming the lead at 35-34, and again rallying to lead 39-38 after the Dragons had pulled ahead by three. The third quarter saw the lead change hands nine times. A 3 by Voyles would have given the Lions an edge entering the final frame, but Bailee Popp completed a three-point play with 15 seconds left to put Silver Creek up 44-42.

That’s when the Dragons finally took control for good, grabbing a six-point edge on a jaw-dropping baseline jumper from Barnett, who stopped at a full sprint, gathered herself and knocked home a 15-footer over two Salem defenders.

Baxter would then become the hero, driving the lane for a basket to keep Silver Creek’s cushion intact with 3:07 to play and hitting two free throws with 40 seconds to go and the Dragons clinging to a two-point edge.

In between, Baxter also helped preserve the lead with a crucial steal and the Lions would never get any closer than four. It was Scott who finished Salem off, knocking down two foul shots to make it 58-52 with 22 seconds left. Scott was just as good from the line as she was from the field, going 10-of-12 from the stripe.

Salem had two 20-point scorers in Soliday, who finished with 21 and Davidson, who came back to put up 20. Baxter was the third Dragon in double figures, scoring 10 points and snatching four steals.

“This was a great win for a young team, to come back like they did,” said Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen, who improved to 5-2 in sectional play as Dragon boss, including a title in 2011. “We’re not a pretty team, not flashy, so we need to win a lot of hustle points, battling for rebounds, that sort of thing. And we were able to do that tonight.”

Hustle was definitely a part of what seemed to be an unlikely victory. That and a few tricks from a certain pair of teammates.

“I think we’re a little inexperienced at times,” Barnett said, with Scott nodding in agreement. “Once we got over the nerves and got our feet underneath us, we didn’t have any doubt that we’d come back.”

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