The Pit was packed Friday night for a Mid-Southern Conference showdown between a pair of Class 3A powerhouses.
No. 3 Silver Creek scored the first four points of the game and never trailed, leading 28-23 at halftime and by as many as 13 points early in the fourth quarter.
No. 2-ranked and host Brownstown Central then picked up its defensive intensity and forced some turnovers, and Silver Creek missed some free throws, allowing the Braves to make it a one-point game on a Collin DeHart 3-pointer with 2:15 to go.
That, however, was as close as the Braves could get, and Silver Creek moved to 5-0 in the MSC with a 59-56 victory.
“Our guys showed some character by fighting back and competing,” Braves coach Dave Benter said. “But just 50/50 balls were a big issue for us tonight. Those are things we’ve got to shore up the second half of the season and sectional time.”
Silver Creek’s size took Brownstown out of its game in the first half. Five of the Dragons’ first-quarter field goals were near the basket, and they led 14-5 through eight minutes of play.
Brownstown finally put together a run in the second quarter to pull within 23-21, but the Dragons maintained the edge and led by five at the break. Silver Creek shot 11 of 15 (73 percent) from the field in the first half.
The Dragons continued to take the ball inside in the third quarter, outscoring the Braves 14-8 for a 42-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“Their length and athleticism, I thought our guys played scared, and that’s really, really disappointing,” Benter said. “We’ve got to be more aggressive, and we’re a team that’s averaging almost 70 points a game. We don’t expect to score 70 against Silver Creek, per se, but we were playing at a 30-point pace there the first three quarters.”
Then the fourth quarter got interesting.
Silver Creek’s Nick Tinsley was whistled for a technical foul after he was fouled on a drive to the basket with 2:46 to go. That was his fifth foul, so Evan Simmons stepped to the line and made 1 of 2.
Brownstown’s Jacoby Shade then made both technical foul free throws to make it 52-48, and DeHart’s ensuing 3 from the left side of the court made it a one-point game.
The Dragons missed some free throws down the stretch — going 13 of 25 in the fourth quarter — to keep it close, but the Braves weren’t able to take the lead.
“Our guys really competed. They did. I’ve got to give our guys credit for the fourth quarter,” Benter said. “We finally started playing, I thought, the way we’ve played the last four games. We had played so well the last four games. That’s why I just didn’t understand the way we came out.”
Brownstown’s Zach McCory led all scorers with 20 points and topped the Braves (9-2, 3-1 MSC) with six rebounds, while Cam Shoemaker added 17 points, and Shade tallied 14.
Silver Creek (13-1) also had balance with Christian Reed scoring 17 points, Tinsley chipping in 13 and Jake Steele finishing with 11.