SELLERSBURG — Early this season, and even going back to this past summer, Silver Creek made a name for itself with its fast-paced style of play and high-scoring ways.
Wednesday night, though, the Dragons flipped the script. They did it with defense.
Silver Creek held visiting Charlestown to just seven second-half points while rallying for a grind-it-out 34-24 Mid-Southern Conference victory.
“This game was great for us because we had to find a way to win,” said Dragons coach Scott Schoen, whose team trailed 17-11 at halftime. “It’s easy to play hard when the shots are falling. But when shots aren’t falling, how do you find a way to win? I felt like in the second half we found a way — defensively, with rebounding and we made a couple shots.”
Juniors Alana Striverson and Savannah Kirchgessner tallied 10 points apiece to lead the way for unbeaten Silver Creek (4-0, 1-0), which is No. 7 in Class 3A in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association rankings.
The Dragons entered averaging 65.3 points per game, but their fast-breaking ways were stifled much of the night by the Pirates. It also didn’t help matters that Silver Creek only hit three field goals in the first half.
“My assistant, Heather [Vance], made a great point. She goes, ‘My gosh, we shot 10 or 15 percent [in the first half] and we’re only down two possessions,’” Schoen said. “We had missed some free throws and left a lot of points out there, I thought. So we just kind of talked about that at halftime. And we kind of adjusted our zone offense going against their diamond-and-one [defense].”
Kirchgessner hit back-to-back baseline jumpers to start the second half as the Dragons scored the first eight points out of the locker room. It was back-and-forth for the next few minutes, with Charlestown going ahead 22-21 on Demaria King’s inside hoop with 2 minutes, 39 seconds to play in the period. That, however, was the Pirates’ last lead — and their second-to-last field goal of the game.
Kynidi Striverson hit a 3 from the top of the key on Creek’s ensuing possession before Emme Rooney hit one of her own a short time later. That sparked a 13-0 game-turning run by the Dragons.
“I wish I could sit here and say, we did this, this and this,” Schoen said, “but basically it came down to Kirch made some shots, Alana made some shots and Kynidi goes and hits a big 3 at the top. It rattles around everywhere, wanted to come out and it goes in. Then momentum kind of shifted our way and defensively we kind of locked them down.”
“It kind of threw us off a little bit because nobody on the floor was hitting shots [in the first half], so we had to adjust and figure out another way to win the game without just being able to hit everything we shot,” Alana Striverson added. “That was definitely a curve that was thrown at us. But it really just came down to getting stops and being very solid on defense ... and we did well at that in the second half. And, we didn’t give up when things weren’t going our way offensively.”
Senior Jackie Biscardi paced the Pirates (0-3, 0-1) with eight points, all in the first half.
“We squandered too many opportunities on the offensive end,” Charlestown coach Scott Matthews said.
Both teams will be back in action Friday night. The Pirates host Corydon Central at 7:30 p.m., while the Dragons host seventh-ranked Jeffersonville (5-0) at the same time.
“We pride ourselves on the defensive side of the ball. We preach that defense and rebounding wins championships,” Schoen said. “Offense is great and man the fans love to see it, and they want to see a lot of points — me too, it makes life easier. But if you’re going to win, and win when the stakes are high, you’ve got to be able to defend and rebound. I thought we got a great test and we found a way to pull one out.”