News and Tribune
On a night when their hearts were heavy and a basketball game seemed secondary, the Class 3A No. 5 Silver Creek Dragons fell to No. 6 Brownstown 65-62 in a tight Mid-Southern Conference matchup.
Earlier in the afternoon, coach Brandon Hoffman and the team found out that starting senior forward Alex Long, and his sister, Sarah, were badly injured in a serious vehicle accident on State Road 60.
Updates after the game indicated both Alex and his sister were “banged up” badly in the crash but stable in hospitals in Louisville.
While the accident meant the Dragons were without the services of Long — their second-leading rebounder and best defender — their collective minds heading into the contest was really on the Longs.
“Alex is a phenomenal kid. He’s probably our best teammate,” Hoffman said. “I think the guys had it in their hearts that they’d play hard for him. I knew they’d play hard for him. These guys played their hearts out. Yeah, they whipped us on some rebounds and [we] didn’t finish on some shots … but it was just a basketball game.”
“That affected them not having Long,” Brownstown coach Dave Benter said. “You can say that they came out and played with a lot of emotion, but he’s also a really good basketball player.”
The Braves led 13-8 with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter after Zach McCory scored an inside bucket. The Dragons answered by scoring the next six points over the next 90 seconds, taking a 14-13 lead after a three-point play from freshman forward Zane Gross.
Jacoby Shade and McCory scored the final two baskets of the first quarter to give Brownstown a 19-16 lead after one quarter
The remainder of the first half went similarly. After Cam Shoemaker drained a 3-pointer, Brownstown led 28-22 with 2:12 remaining before intermission. A layup from Gross and a three-pointer from Cameron Stephens helped Silver Creek cut the deficit to 28-27 with 1:33 left in the half.
Stephens sank another 3-pointer with time running down in the half, but Brownstown led 33-32 as the teams went the locker rooms.
The Braves (10-1) extended their lead to 57-49 at then end of the third quarter and led 61-52 with just over three minutes left in the contest.
Silver Creek rallied behind Christian Reed, who led Silver Creek with 18 points. Reed scored inside with just under two minutes to play to narrow the gap to 63-59.
After McCory sank two free throws with 14.2 seconds left, not even a 3-pointer from Ryan Baker with just over five seconds left in the contest put the visitors in danger in the closing moments.
Both teams were coming off their first losses of the season headed into the contest, and Brownstown coach David Benter felt his squad played well aside from the final few minutes.
“Until the last three minutes, I thought we played well,” he said. “They hurt us in transition in the first half. Reed is just a fantastic player, but by no means are they a one-man show. They’ve got really solid players around him that are good around him. It’s a great win, but I’d really like to have those last three minutes back.”
The win put Browntown in control of the race for the Mid-Southern Conference championship with an unblemished 4-0 record.
Silver Creek dropped to 4-1 within the conference in the loss. Every team in the MSC now has a loss except the Braves.
Stephens scored 17 points in the loss for Silver Creek. McCory led all scorers with 21 points, and Shade netted 17 for the Braves, who host Trinity Lutheran tonight.
The Dragons are in action next when they host Class 4A No. 3 New Albany on Friday night.