A pair of sizzling starts propelled Silver Creek and Charlestown into the championship game of the 54th Annual Silver Creek Holiday Tournament.
Thanks to 72.2 percent first-half shooting, the host Dragons pummeled Providence 55-32 in Monday night’s first game before the Pirates, who shot 72.3 percent in the first quarter, clobbered defending champion Clarksville 65-47 in the second game.
Silver Creek (9-1) will meet Charlestown (4-3) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the final. The Pioneers (2-5) will take on the Generals (0-8) in the consolation game at 6 p.m.
“We kind of challenged our kids before the game, as far as getting off to a good start and setting the tone early,” Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said.
The Dragons responded.
Trailing 4-2 early, they scored 16 consecutive points to take control. Six-foot-six junior center Christian Reed scored eight of his game-high 18 points in that run, which spanned the final 6:02 of the first quarter and the first 1:08 of the second.
Providence, meanwhile, helped Silver Creek’s surge with seven turnovers in the first period and six in the second.
“We played intimidated,” first-year Pioneers coach Andrew Grantz said. “The other team was bigger, stronger, faster than us and instead of bearing down when things started going wrong we became undisciplined.”
Silver Creek, which led 16-4 after eight minutes, hit its first six shots of the second quarter, taking a 29-8 lead on Nick Tinsley’s driving layup.
The Dragons, who last won their own holiday tournament in 2009, led 34-13 at halftime and cruised from there.
Senior forward Gabe Bauer, who sparked Silver Creek with his defense, added 14 points while Tinsley tallied 10. The Dragons, who came in shooting 47 percent from the field, shot 56.1 percent (23 for 41) against the Pioneers.
“That’s the best team we’ve played this year,” Grantz said.
Forwards Griffin Libs and Dawson Mitchell scored 11 points apiece to pace Providence, which shot 40 percent (12 for 30) from the field.
“This was our worst game of the year, now how do we respond to that?” Grantz asked rhetorically afterward.
Providence (2-5) – Justin Betz 3, Alex Judd 4, Griffin Libs 11, Dawson Mitchell 11, Parker Graf 3.
Silver Creek (9-1) – Nick Tinsley 10, Jake Steele 2, Gabe Bauer 14, Sam Garr 2, Christian Reed 18, Evan Simmons 2, Alex Long 2, Ryan Baker 3, Nick Kirchgessner 2.
3-point goals – Libs 2, Betz 1, Baker 1, Graf 1.