Led by Emily Hollis’ hot hand, the Henryville girls’ basketball team continued its best start in years and ended a long losing streak to Silver Creek Tuesday night.
Hollis, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Hornets to a 46-35 victory over the host Dragons, who had won six straight in the series.
“We’ve had this one circled on our calendar for a while,” Hollis said after Henryville’s first win over Silver Creek since a 58-53 overtime triumph Nov. 17, 2007.
The Hornets (8-2) outscored the Dragons (2-7) 27-14 in the second and fourth quarters, and forced 20 turnovers, to keep up the best beginning they’ve had to a season since, at least, the calendar turned to 2000.
“It’s been awhile,” Henryville coach Josh Conrad said.
It had been awhile since the Hornets had beaten Silver Creek. The Dragons had won the previous six meetings — including a 40-point victory in the 2009-10 season — by an average of 18.8 points per game.
It looked like Silver Creek’s streak might reach seven straight early on as Hollis and Henryville started slowly. She missed her first six shots from the field, and the Hornets collectively missed their first eight and 10 of their first 11.
Kelsi Scott’s jumper gave the Dragons a 6-2 lead before the Hornets closed out the first quarter with a five-point run. Reserve Lesha Dallas hit two free throws and Hollis hit a 3-pointer — her first field goal of the game — with 21 seconds to play in the period.
Silver Creek retook the lead on Kyleigh Reynolds’ jumper 43 seconds into the second quarter. However that was the Dragons’ last field goal of the first half, and their last lead of the game. Hollis’ steal and layup put Henryville up 9-8 before Lauren Cunliffe hit one free throw to tie it. The Hornets then reeled off the final eight points of the first half sparked by their defense, which forced eight Silver Creek turnovers in the second period.
The Dragons came out more aggressive in the third quarter, when they outscored Henryville 15-12 behind seven points from Scott, their 6-2 senior center.
Cunliffe’s layup then cut the Hornets’ lead to three 28 seconds into the fourth quarter before Hollis countered with a three-point play.
Despite frigid shooting from the outside Silver Creek, which was 0-for-12 from 3-point range, wouldn’t go away. Scott followed up her own miss with a baby hook in the lane to make it 33-30 with five minutes to play.
The Hornets outscored the Dragons 13-5 the rest of the way. Henryville went 11 for 16 from the free throw line in the final 3:33.
After her slow start Hollis finished 5 for 13 from the field and 12 for 15 from the free throw line, including 6 for 6 in the final 1:04.
“She started off missing some shots, but got into the flow of things, kept her head up and kept playing hard,” Conrad said.
“She and (Charlestown’s Kaitlynn) Henning are two of the best players in the area,” Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen added of Hollis.
The Dragons, who got 13 points from Scott, shot just 37.2 percent (16 for 43) from the field, in addition to their errors.
“We kept creeping back into it, but you can only overcome turnovers for so long,” Schoen said. “But it’s back to the drawing board.”
Henryville (8-2) – Emily Hollis 24, Haley Huddleston 8, Hannah White 6, Emma Hendricks 1, Abby Robertson 3, Lesha Dallas 4.
Silver Creek (2-7) – Haley Baxter 2, Lauren Cunliffe 5, Kelsi Scott 13, Lauren Polston 2, Alexis Barnett 3, Hannah Mattingly 4, Kyleigh Reynolds 4, Hailey Ramey 2.
3-point goals – Hollis 2.