Charlestown got the best of rival Silver Creek Tuesday night for its first win over the Dragons since 2012.
The Pirates took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and held on for a 51-46 victory in a Mid-Southern Conference opener for both teams. Senior guard Jordon Knoebel paced Charlestown (1-1, 1-0) with 17 points and four assists in what proved to be a duel of lead guards early and often. Charlestown held off a strong performance by senior guard Cameron Stephens, who scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting for Silver Creek (0-2, 0-1), including 12 in the first half.
After Silver Creek opened scoring with a step-back jumper from Stephens, Knoebel netted the first six points for the Pirates less than three minutes in. Stephens then nabbed his second bucket two possessions later to knot the score at 6-6, but Knoebel answered with a basket and the foul. The Pirates led 10-9 after one quarter behind nine points from Knoebel, while Stephens totaled seven in the first.
“Me and Cameron, we go way back,” Knoebel said. “Probably third grade. Been on the same AAU team up to freshman year. We know each other very well. It’s fun to play against him. He’s a really good player. He does everything right. You mess up, he’s going to score. But me and him are good friends.”
GALLERY: Pirates oust Dragons
It was much of the same for Stephens in the second period. His second 3-pointer brought the Dragons within 13-12, and Silver Creek took its first lead later in the quarter at 20-19 on a pair of free throws from junior Hunter Popp. Charlestown, though, entered halftime with a 25-22 lead despite a scoreless quarter from Knoebel. The senior guard, after a little push from his coaching staff, looked to get others involved after his hot start dwindled.
“He plays so hard, and he wants to carry the team on his back,” Charlestown coach Jason Connell said. “That’s a leader. That’s what you want. We told him a little bit at halftime tonight, ‘You have to trust your teammates.'”
Charlestown senior guard Miles Matthews scored all five of his points in the third quarter, as his only 3-pointer gave the Pirates their largest lead at 35-27 with 4:40 left in the period — but an 8-2 run then cut the Dragons’ deficit to two entering the fourth quarter.
Knoebel came alive in the fourth after going 0-for-5 in the second and third quarters. Following a Landers bucket that tied the score at 37-37, the senior tallied the next five points for the Pirates to give the hosts a 42-38 lead with less than five minutes left. Stephens promptly answered with a basket, unsurprisingly, but two more free throws from Knoebel later extended Charlestown’s lead to seven with just over two minutes remaining — a cushion the Pirates wouldn’t relinquish.
“The (past) five days of practice we had, we went to war,” Connell said. “A lot of toughness stuff after last week’s loss to New Washington. Changed our practices up a lot. I probably should’ve done this earlier, but it really helped us.
“This sets the tone for us after last week. We’re excited.”
Charlestown is back in action at Scottsburg on Friday, while Silver Creek hosts Clarksville. Dragons coach Brandon Hoffman said that while this year’s team, with two seniors and six underclassmen, is younger than in years past, it’s no justification for Tuesday’s performance.
“Being inexperienced and young is not an excuse,” Hoffman said. “We’re not going to use that. We just have to man up and do our job. We have to make some shots. At the same time, that was a very winnable game.”
Silver Creek: 9 – 13 – 13 – 11 – 46
Charlestown: 10 – 15 – 12 – 14 – 51
Pirates (1-1): Knoebel 17, Woodward 9, Schafer 7, Crace 6, Matthews 5, Lawler 4, Mitchell 3
Dragons (0-2): Stephens 19, Landers 10, Garrett 5, Z. Gross 4, Popp 4, Beyl 2, Kessinger 2