BORDEN, Ind. – Silver Creek weathered delay tactics for more than half the game before pulling away from host Borden 44-25 Saturday night.
The Braves (8-4) came out and held the ball for nearly three minutes in its first possession, and they stayed painfully patient for the rest of the quarter. The only points of the first period came on three free throws by the Dragons — one from Josh Landers and a couple from Zane Gross.
“We knew it was going to be that kind of game,” said Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman.
Borden kept grinding it out in the second quarter and pushed ahead 4-3 after Nathan Bachman hit a 12-footer and Noah Hart converted two free throws. Silver Creek finally hit a field goal with 3:18 left in the half as Jack Hawkins nailed a 3-pointer, and the Dragons led 6-4. After Bachman and Jacob Garrett traded field goals, Silver Creek still led 8-6 with two minutes left in the first half.
With 1:31 left in the half, Hawkins went to the free-throw line, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Silver Creek’s Hunter Popp grabbed the offensive rebound.
“He has been doing stuff like that a lot lately for us,” Hoffman said of Popp. “When that happens, the shot usually goes in. The basketball gods are looking out for you.”
Popp quickly fanned the ball to a wide-open Cameron Stephens, who then drilled a 3-pointer, and the Dragons led 11-6.
“That’s when the game was over,” said Borden coach Doc Nash. “We just got out-toughed. They’re better than we are. Give credit to coach (Brandon) Hoffman. they did everything they needed to do to beat us.”
Silver Creek led the rest of the way, settling for a 13-8 cushion at the half. In the second half, the Dragons pulled away behind Gross, who scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. Hawkins added nine points and six rebounds.
“In this game, that (the 20 points by Gross) is like 50,” Hoffman said. “Zane’s a scorer. He knows his role for us, and he likes to do it. A lot of those don’t happen unless we get defensive stops and outlets to him. . . Zane has a lot of talent offensively.”
“(The 20 points) surprised me, considering how slow the game was going,” Gross said. “It’s not my favorite type of game.”
Hoffman praised the defensive work by the Dragons, winners in nine of their last 10 games.
“I thought we were really good defensively,” Hoffman said. “Hart and Bachman could be all-conference players in our league. They’re good players.”
Hart led the Braves with 12 points, including a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. After the game, Nash personally delivered the game ball to Hoffman, his long-time friend who won his 100th game at Silver Creek.
“I look at him like a brother,” Nash said. “That’s what basketball does. We’ve both been blessed.”
SILVER CREEK 44, BORDEN 25
SILVER CREEK (9-3)
Cameron Stephens 7p, 5r; Zane Gross 20p; Bennett Beyl 3p; Josh Landers 1p; Jacob Garrett 4p, 5r; Jack Hawkins 9p, 6r.
Chad Arnett 3p; Nathan Bachman 8p; Noah Franklin 2p; Noah Hart 12p