NEW WASHINGTON — Silver Creek celebrated the return of junior guard Carissa Brown to the lineup with a 54-36 victory over host New Washington on Tuesday.
After taking a five-point lead into the locker room following a closely contested first half, Silver Creek opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run and never looked back.
“We were a little lackadaisical in the first half,” Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen said. “I told my squad (that) we looked like we were running with 25-pound weights on our shoulders, and we weren’t getting up and down the floor. On defense, we were a step slow, but I thought in the second half the girls really responded.”
SIlver Creek opened the third quarter struggling a bit to find the basket from the field. But 2-for-2 trips to the free-throw line by Emily Clayton and Alex Tinsley pushed the Creek lead to nine, and a bucket by Alexis McFarland after two Dragon offensive rebounds forced the New Washington bench to call timeout.
“There in the third quarter, we kind of went backwards a little bit, as far as coming out of halftime, not maintaining the intensity we played with in the first half,” New Wash substitute coach Kirsti Holloway said. “We called a timeout, kind of picked up the intensity a little bit. But again, they’ve got so many weapons to throw at us, and it just kind of took us in the third quarter.”
After outscoring the Mustangs 10-4 in the third, the fourth quarter opened in much the same way, with the Dragons out on a 6-2 run to start it. New Washington never challenged the defending Class 3A sectional champions again in the contest.
Clayton led the Silver Creek scoring with 12 points, while Tinsley finished the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Five of Tinsley’s points came in the final frame.
“I was a little hard on her today. I came out here and grabbed (the stat sheet), and I was like, ‘My gosh. I was on her all game and she goes for a double-double,’” Schoen said about Tinsley. “She’s one of those players that’s been really good for us. She doesn’t understand how good she can be — offensively, defensively, all-around. There’s times when she takes some plays off, but the great thing about her is she wants to be good and she works at it.
“I see this — a double-double? I’ll live with that, (but) she probably could have had a triple-double if she would have played the way she’s capable of playing. She works hard, and I feel bad for yelling at her so much.”
In her return to the Silver Creek lineup, Brown finished with seven points and five rebounds.
“It’s nice to have her. It gives us another dimension, someone that can step out and handle the basketball, shoot the basketball, (she’s) athletic,” Schoen said.
For New Washington, Ashley Johnson led the way with a game-high 13 points. Courtney Amick and Kriston Sarver added seven apiece.
Holloway said playing Silver Creek was a learning opportunity for the Mustangs.
“It’s just maintaining intensity,” Holloway said. “One of our keys to the game was to never take a possession off, to take zero possessions off in a game, and I think you can learn from playing against an opponent like that that you can’t afford to take a possession off when you play against teams of that caliber. They’re not going to let up, and neither can you at any one point in time.”
New Washington (9-7) will travel to Southern Athletic Conference rival South Central on Saturday night, where Holloway will match wits with Schoen’s father, Rebels’ head coach Randall Schoen. Silver Creek (13-2) will host Mid-Southern Conference rival and Class 2A No. 2 Eastern, also on Saturday.
SILVER CREEK 11 14 10 19—54
NEW WASH 6 14 4 12—36
Silver Creek (13-2) — Jamros 6, M. Martin 7, Brown 7, McFarland 8, Clayton 12, Tinsley 10, Toby 4.
New Washington (9-7) — Kaira Doherty 1, Ricks 3, Amick 7, Sarver 7, Johnson 13, Kasie Doherty 5.
3-point field goals — Silver Creek 1 (Clayton); New Washington 3 (Amick, Johnson, Kasie Doherty).