BY MIKE RILEY
Entering a game about as well prepared mentally as possible, Silver Creek scored the games first 25 points in Friday’s Charlestown Holiday Tournament opener and advanced to Saturday’s championship game with a 50-30 victory over Clarksville.
The Dragons will face Charlestown (3-7) for the tournament championship on Saturday. The host Pirates had surprisingly little trouble with Providence (6-5) in winning 50-20 in the first semifinal.
This was a game that Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen had to approach with caution.
After defeating Clarksville 56-24 on Nov. 28, few would have predicted his team would run out to a 25-0 lead, but the Dragons were favored to advance to the title game, where they would face a Charlestown team looking to avenge a 47-46 decision to Silver Creek on Dec. 8.
“I thought that mentally, we handled things really well,” Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen said. “We really got off to a good start. It’s more important to us what we do. We need to do what we do to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Silver Creek had built a 10-0 lead before the Generals attempted their first shot as Clarksville turned the ball over on its first eight possessions. When the first period came to a close, the Dragons found themselves with a 20-0 lead.
The Generals had more than twice as many turnovers (12) than shots attempted (5) in the opening period.
Lexi McFarland, who drained two 3-pointers in the first quarter, scored again following a 3-pointer by Emily Clayton to give the Dragons their 25-0 advantage.
Clarksville then got on the board with back-to-back baskets by Courtney Holmes and Abigail Hurtgen, but the Dragons ended the quarter with an 8-0 run for a 33-4 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Clarksville played a more relaxed, free style offense and turned the ball over once in the quarter, hitting 6-of-11 shots after going just 2-of-13 in the first half. The improved play continued in the fourth quarter, but there was just too large of a deficit to overcome.
And after the turnover parade in the first half, Clarksville had just six after halftime.
“We tried to play a little more free in the second half and played well,” said Clarksville coach B.D. Ledbetter. “In the first half, they were just too caught up with running the plays and not looking to score.”
McFarland led the Dragons with 13 points. Freshman Bailey Sharp, who hit four 3-pointers after halftime, led the Generals with 12 points. Kelsi Scott of Silver Creek and Haley Jenkins of Clarksville each added eight points.
But it was senior Kira Jamros, who didn’t score, who drew praise from her coach.
“Kira really played well in attacking and getting into the gaps where she could get the ball to our scorers,” Schoen said.
“We still have a lot of things to learn,” Ledbetter said. “But we had some freshman play tonight and do some good things. It’s nice to see them make progress.”
What will Schoen and the Dragons look to do against Charlestown?
“We’ll just do what we do,” he said. “Play defense and rebound and the scoring will take care of itself.”