CLARKSVILLE — Class 3A No. 12 Silver Creek handed host Clarksville its first Mid-Southern Conference loss of the season while remaining undefeated with a 61-52 on Friday.
Silver Creek is now 2-0 in the MSC, while the Generals are now 1-2 overall after their conference debut.
“You want to talk about a veteran team … they’re tough,” Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said of the Generals. “They’re a good team. We’re fortunate to come out of here with a win.”
The Dragons (3-0), who much bulkier beneath the basket than Clarksville, enjoyed a 32-18 rebounding advantage and were led by freshman Kooper Jacobi’s 16 points.
“I think they were a bit tougher than we were overall and that’s happened to us twice now,” said Clarksville coach Brian McEwen, whose squad dropped a decision to Floyd Central earlier in the week that was comparable in a lot of ways. “In every game we’ve given up too much. It’s a matter of positioning, a matter of will and technique more than anything else.”
Silver Creek started the contest on an 8-2 run that was capped when forward Sammy Barnett scored from close range with about 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. Following a timeout by McEwen, the Generals rallied and knotted the contest at 11 after Charles Van Winkle fed Murphy McEwen for a driving layup with less than two minutes left in the frame.
Silver Creek led 16-14 after one. The Generals took the lead at 19-18 when McEwen hit another short jumper a minute into the second quarter, but Silver Creek gradually inched away from the hosts and took a 32-25 halftime lead.
On consecutive possessions to close the second, DeShaun Baker and Christian Stewart missed shots from beneath the basket that would have further cut into the Silver Creek advantage. In the third quarter, Silver Creek looked poised to close the hosts out. Following an inside bucket from Jack Hawkins, the Dragons led 38-29 with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter.
But Clarksville hit back with an 8-0 run over the ensuing three minutes. A 3-pointer by Ethan Cummings narrowed the margin to 38-37 with 1:15 remaining in the third frame. Jacobi answered with a trey and Hunter Popp added a baseline jumper to give Silver Creek a 43-37 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
The Generals managed to narrow the gap to five twice in the fourth quarter, but never got closer than that. Four free throws from Zane Gross inside the final minute put the contest away.
Both squads took away things from the early-season matchup. For Hoffman, it was an opportunity to test his depth. Jacobi was the last player off the bench and Popp — a reserve center — added nine points and six rebounds.
“I think that is something that’s going to be important as we go along,” he said. “We can be a deep team.”
Coach McEwen said he believes he identified a solution to his squad’s rebounding woes and credited Silver Creek for its play against his leading scorer, Christian Stewart, who only finished with five points in the loss.
“I think there’s something on the horizon for us where we can fix these things, but these kids are going to have to want it,” he said.
Murphy McEwen led all scorers with 18 points.
The Dragons host Jennings County (0-1) tonight. Clarksville hits the road on Friday night when they travel to Charlestown (2-2).
SILVER CREEK 61, CLARKSVILLE 52
Silver Creek 16 16 11 18–61
Clarksville 14 11 12 15–52
Silver Creek (3-0, 2-0 MSC): Zane Gross 10, Jack Hawkins 8, Sammy Barnett 4, Bennett Beyl 4, Hunter Popp 9, Ty Kessinger 4, Josh Landers 0, Kooper Jacobi 16.
Clarksville (2-2. 0-1): Christian Stewart 5, Murphy McEwen 18, Charles VanWinkle 5, Charles Carter 6, Ethan Cummings 15, Seth Hamilton 3, De’Shaun Baker 0.
Rebounds: Silver Creek 32 (Barnett, Garrett 8); Clarksville 18 (Cummings 6).
3-point goals: Silver Creek 4 (Gross, Popp, Jacobi 2); Clarksville 7 (McEwen 3, Van Winkle, Carter, Cummings 2).
Turnovers: Silver Creek 13, Clarksville 8.
Free throws: Silver Creek 9-11, Clarksville 11-20.
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