The first quarter did little to change their minds.
The Pirates came out gunning, turning the opening tip into a long jump shot from Northwestern-bound point guard Bryant McIntosh. A wing jumper from leading scorer Sean Sellers and four free throws, along with the second foul on Reed, put Silver Creek at an 8-0 deficit. It appeared the Dragons would be closed out before they could get their bearings in the 7,090-seat Hatchet House, a legendary venue that had nearly 6,000 fans on hand despite the 10 a.m. tipoff.
"They tried to knock us out early," Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. "They threw that first blow and it landed."
Silver Creek (15-9) finally settled down after two free throws from Nick Tinsley and a 3-pointer from Gabe Bauer that banked in off the glass. Still, the Pirates next three baskets came from the 3-point line and they kept a comfortable cushion, taking a 22-16 edge into the second quarter.
That's when Silver Creek punched back.
The Dragons — their confidence seemingly growing with each made basket — retaliated with the game's next 10 points, the first five coming from senior Zach Davidson. Tinsley's jumper for the lead rolled off the rim, but seconds later Bauer drove around a well-placed screen from Reed to put Silver Creek on top 23-22. Tinsley came back with a deep 3 to make it 26-22 and suddenly Greensburg looked as frustrated as the Dragons did in the early going. Pirate coach Stacy Meyer called a timeout and his team responded with three quick points, but a jumper from Davidson kept the Dragons ahead at the intermission, 28-27.
"The second quarter was Silver Creek basketball, we held them to five points" Hoffman said. "The message [at halftime] was this: We're just as good as these guys."