SELLERSBURG — Silver Creek boys' basketball has been a revelation in recent years with a state title in 2019 and multiple Dragons receiving Division I offers.
Coach Scott Schoen's girls' program has a long way to go to match those accomplishments, but the Dragons appear poised for a big season in 2019-20 with several players on the roster who are getting college interest.
"Our team goal is make it as far as possible in the postseason. We want to make it to state," 5-foot-11 junior guard Jaclyn Emly said.
Coming off a 15-8 season, the Dragons have added Louisville Male standouts Alana and Kynidi Striverson, who are drawing Division I interest, to the fold.
"They fit in like fingers in a glove," Schoen said of the sisters. "The two positions we graduated, point guard Jordan Balz and Alyssa Wright, being a slash shooter outside, they just slid right into those positions."
Kynidi is a sophomore point guard who will control the tempo, Schoen said, while Alana, a junior, will provide another veteran leader and scorer to join Emly, a 15.4 points-per-game scorer as a sophomore, and sophomore Emme Rooney, who averaged 9.6 points as a freshman. Junior Savannah Kirchgessner (6.8 ppg) is the third returning starter for the Dragons.
"I call Alana an 'old soul.' She's a born leader. She doesn't get rattled or doesn't get too high or too low. They've allowed Emme and Jaclyn to be great at what they're good at," Schoen said.
Emly described the additions in similar fashion to her coach. She welcomes the new scoring and play-making options that will help the team, and potentially help provide her more open shots.
"We're really quick, so that helps. Being able to score, everybody being a threat is very helpful [too]," Emly said. "It will be harder to guard us."
Alana Striverson averaged 9.8 points and 1.6 steals for a Bulldogs team that advanced to the Kentucky state semifinals last season. She also made 30 3-pointers. That type of perimeter production could help the Dragons overcome their lack of size this season.
"We all know we don't have 6-foot girls who can stand in and grab every rebound," Striverson said. "Our main focuses are defense and rebounding and out-running our opponents. We'll have to make sure they can't capitalize on our so-called weaknesses, make sure we're all playing hard and getting every rebound."
The modern term is positionless basketball, but that doesn't mean defense won't be a big part of the Dragons' formula to success.
"We hang our hat on our defense. We want to put unbelievable pressure on the ball. That's been one of our focuses. We can really pressure it and get it up and down," Schoen said. "They don't have to worry about finding a guard and running a secondary break. We've always tried to be a transition team. We'll put a lot more emphasis on that part of the game."
Success won't come easy by any means. The Mid-Southern Conference is strong at the top. Salem, North Harrison and Scottsburg all finished ahead of Silver Creek in last year's standings. Scottsburg returns its top two scorers while North Harrison returns its No. 2 and No. 3 options.
"Our conference is tough. There's a lot of good teams in our conference," Schoen said. "We're not close to where we need to be. There's a lot of excitement, and rightfully so. We are really far from where we need to be. If we want to compete with the upper echelon, we have a long way to go."