SELLERSBURG — Class 3A No. 8 Silver Creek improved to 5-0 on the season — and remained atop the Mid-Southern Conference standings with 3-0 mark — with a grind-it-out, 42-28 victory over visiting North Harrison on Friday.
The win wasn’t a work of art, admitted Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman, whose squad only converted 6 of 29 shots from inside the paint but some hard-nosed defense — and 22 points from junior guard Zane Gross — was enough to make the difference.
“This was one of those games where we’re thankful our program is built around defense and rebounding,” Hoffman said. “Offensively, we couldn’t get them to fall. That was just kind of a focus thing, not finishing well. You have nights like that, but to hold them to 28 points, that was something I was really proud of.”
The first half was tight throughout. After Gross hit a 17-footer to give the Dragons a 16-11 lead with 4:02 remaining in the first half, the Cougars answered with a 3-pointer from Eli Gutknecht and a short jumper from Braden Jenkins to tie the game with 2:10 remaining.
Gross hit 1 of 2 free throws with just under a minute remaining and the Dragons led at intermission 17-16.
The 6-foot-2 junior opened up the second half by dicing in the lane for a steal off the inbounds pass and converting a lay in and by nailing a 3-point jumper seconds later to give the Dragons a 24-16 lead with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The Dragons led 27-21 at the end of the third quarter, with Gross scoring 10 of his 22 points — and all Silver Creek’s points — during the third frame.
Silver Creek took a 34-21 lead after a 3-point play from freshman forward Kooper Jacobi with 6:39 remaining and coasted to the victory from there.
The Dragons hit the road tonight and travel north to Columbus East. They’ll be without starting center Jacob Garrett for that contest. Garrett — a star running back for the Dragons’ football team — is signing his official letter of intent to tote the pigskin for Southern Illinois.
“It’s going to be a tough test. You’re talking about one of the most physical teams in the Hoosier Hills Conference,” Hoffman said. “I’ll be interested to see how we compete.”
SILVER CREEK 42, NORTH HARRISON 28
North Harrison 9 7 5 7—28
Silver Creek 12 5 10 15—42
North Harrison (2-2, 1-1 MSC): Braden Jenkins 8, Langdon Hatton 1, Skyler Wetzel 3, Quinn Kaiser 10, Eli Gutknecht 6, Trevor Haub 0, Jacob Harmon 0, Jake Harley 0, Max Flock 0.
Silver Creek (5-0, 3-0): Zane Gross 22, Jack Hawkins 7, Sammy Barnett 2, Bennett Beyl 3, Hunter Popp 0, Ty Kessinger 0, Josh Landers 1, Kooper Jacobi 7, Trey Renn 0.
Rebounds: North Harrison 19 (Jenkins 6); Silver Creek 28 (Hawkins 7, Gross 7).
3-point field goals: North Harrison 2 (Gutknecht 2); Silver Creek 3 (Gross, Hawkins, Beyl).
Turnovers: North Harrison 11; Silver Creek 9.
Free throws: , North Harrison 5-11; Silver Creek 11-16.
JV Final Score: SC – 64 NH – 32