SCOTTSBURG — Zane Gross helped flip the script on an ugly first half chapter for Silver Creek and propelled the Dragons to at least a share of Mid-Southern Conference championship Friday with a 57-36 win over Scottsburg at Meyer Gymnasium.
On a night his team missed 25 of its first 30 shots from the field, Gross had 16 of his game-high 19 points after intermission to help the Dragons outscore the hosts 40-18 over the final two quarters.
“When we got challenged, he stepped up and lifted his team and that’s [what] leaders are supposed to do,” Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. “He didn’t shoot well in the first half — none of our guys did — but he came out with a different mindset after halftime and put us back on the path we needed.”
Creek was 0 for 11 from the floor in the opening 8 minutes and trailed 11-5 after one quarter. After going on an early run to grab a 17-15 lead in the second, the Dragons had a 3 1/2 minute drought before halftime and Silver Creek trailed at the break 18-17.
“We kind of settled for shots against their zone,” Hoffman said. “Rather than work it for cleaner looks, we take a challenged mid-range shot and they didn’t fall.”
Defensively, though, the Dragons held the Warriors to just four field goals over the span of the second and third quarter and pushed its halftime deficit to a 32-22 advantage after 3. After the Scottsburg cut it to five on a 3-pointer by Jimmy Neace early in the third, the Creek responded with nine straight to push its cushion back to 14.
Ty Kessinger had eight of his 11 for before the break for the Dragons, who can clinch the outright conference title on Tuesday at Austin.
“Sharing is only fun when someone else has what you want,” Hoffman said. “We’re focused on winning this next game and hopefully bringing a conference championship back with us.”
SILVER CREEK 57, SCOTTSBURG 36
Silver Creek 5 12 16 24—57
Scottsburg 11 7 5 13—36
Silver Creek (14-5, 7-0 MSC): Ty Kessinger 11, Zane Gross 19, Josh Landers 3, Bennett Beyl 8, Sammy Barnett 4, Hunter Popp 3, Trey Kaufman 6, Jacob Garrett 1, Kooper Jacobi 2.
Scottsburg (4-15, 1-8): Mitchell Prince 2, Bradley Whitler 2, Casey Smith 2, Andrew Slaton 1, Treyton Owens 8, Jimmy Neace 10, Brantley Deaton 4, NIck Sebastiao 7.
3-point field goals: Silver Creek 4 (Gross 3, Kessinger); Scottsburg 3 (Neace 2, Owens 1
JV Final Score: SC – 77 S-burg – 39
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