By CHRIS STONER
Silver Creek accomplished one of the most difficult tasks in basketball Wednesday night at the class 3A Scottsburg Sectional: The Dragons defeated Charlestown for the third time this season, 51-38 and advanced to play host Scottsburg in the tournament’s second semifinal on Friday night.
In Game 1, Scottsburg (14-7) beat Salem (7-14) for the second time this year, 69-42.
Creek (16-6) knocked off the Pirates (10-11) twice in a two-week span in December — each win coming by just a single point. The Dragons led Round 3 wire-to-wire for their seventh straight win over their Mid-Southern Conference and Clark County rival.
“It’s always hard to beat a team three times,” Dragons head coach Scott Schoen said. “You know each other so well. Coming into tonight, we talked about that we had to do what we do, but we had to do it with an attitude. We stressed that all week. We knew Charlestown was tough. We had to play well. We had to set the tone early and be the first ones on the floor for loose balls. We had to put it all out there.”
The Creekers bolted out of the gates with plenty of fire and forced eight Charlestown giveaways in the opening frame en route to an 11-4 lead at the first stop.
The Dragons held the Pirates scoreless over the first four minutes of the game and Alexis McFarland hit two of her four triples in the first period.
“In warmups I was hitting well,” McFarland said. “I just felt it tonight. We had a couple of plays called for me, but I think they lost me a little bit in transition. That helped.”
McFarland led all scoreres with 17 and was a source of consistent offense all night, as the senior guard was the only Dragon to score in every quarter.
“She got some good looks in the flow of things,” Schoen said of McFarland. “We talked about getting lost in the zone. Lexi did a good job of that.”
McFarland added another bomb and Kira Jamros tallied all five of her points in the second frame as Creek pushed its lead to 21-12 at intermission.
“They came out and pushed us around and were physical,” Charlestown head coach Sam Terrell said. “We kind of backed away from that and they wouldn’t let us in what we wanted to do. It was hard to recover from where we were in the first half. When you throw in the 20-some turnovers we had, that makes it real hard to win a sectional game against a good team.”
The Pirates turned up some pressure of their own in the third frame as they held Creek to 1-of-8 shooting and closed within 27-24 going to the fourth period. Pirates sophomore Justice Burdin scored seven of her 11 in the third.
“We had to match their in intensity and their physicalness,” Terrell said. “They were bullying us around and playing good strong basketball, and we were backing away from that. We had to be strong and phsyical and take care of the basketball to win tonight and we didn’t do that.”
Kaitlynn Henning, who pumped in nine of her team-high 16 in the final frame, pulled the Pirates within 27-26 on an early fourth quarter basket. The Dragons, however, responded with by hitting eight of their 12 field goal attempts in the final stanza to secure their fifth straight win.
“I thought they started scrambling on us and we didn’t handle the pressure like we had been,” Schoen said. “We looked stuck. We weren’t getting people to the middle like we needed to. In sectionals, you just have to make sound basketball plays. We only had nine turnovers, and if we can do that, we feel pretty good.”
Brownstown Central (8-10) will play Corydon Central (17-5) in the first semifinal Friday night with Silver Creek battling Scottsburg in the nightcap.