Beware of the man in the headband.
Silver Creek senior guard Nick Tinsley is one of three Dragons sporting the sweatband, a basketball uniform addition more popular in the 1970s, around his skull. Tinsley has a game that never goes out of style.
Tinsley scored 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 6 assists, pushing the Class 3-A Dragons to a 53-36 victory over visiting Providence on Tuesday night. Jake Steele added 11 points and Gabe Bauer totaled 10 as Silver Creek (14-2) found the cure for an emotional hangover following last week’s loss to 4-A power New Albany.
The Pioneers (6-8) just happened to be next. And they bore the brunt of the wrath Silver Creek summoned as angry energy. The Dragons, while still a little woozy from defeat, never trailed and muscled their way to a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“It was definitely a good game to bounce back,” Tinsley said.
Tinsley made sure the Dragons were awake and active. He scored 11 first-half points as Silver Creek powered to a 27-17 lead, one built on transition points (12 in the first half) and offensive rebounds. That’s the Silver Creek foundation.
“That’s what we’re good at,” Hoffman said. “We need to get back to that. With our athletes, we can get a lot more easy points than what we’ve been getting. We’ve talked this week about getting back to our roots.”
The Dragons finished off the Pioneers with a 10-2 opening to the fourth quarter that produced the largest lead (50-25). Silver Creek had only one basket from that point but was in no hurry about it. The conquest was complete, and the offense was spread out.
While Tinsley claimed the headband neither helps nor hinders, it’s become a signature. So has his floor generalship. So has his toughness. He had six offensive rebounds against Providence as Silver Creek dominated that category until the starters came out with the 25-point lead.
“Nick has been our most consistent player,” Hoffman said. “He competes every game.”
“I try to do what we need,” Tinsley said. “If we need to score, I’ll try to score. Passing the ball, I’ll try to get it in the hands of whoever is hot.”
Providence, with four sophomores in the starting lineup and a freshman first off the bench, is learning tough lessons. First-year coach Andrew Grantz is attempting to change the culture from ultra-conservative to an intelligent but fearless attack mode.
Some nights, the Pioneers get it, playing on their toes rather than their heels. On this night, they did not. Many of their 14 turnovers, even though that’s not an exceeding amount, were turned into layups. Many of their shots were taken over taller defenders and altered accordingly.
“Silver Creek is a big, physical team,” Grantz said. “I’m a process coach. I’m more into the process of how we’re progressing, especially as a young team. We weren’t afraid to make shots or make mistakes tonight. We’re finally being aggressive. It’s taken us 13 games, and I’m not sure what they were afraid of before.”
Justin Betz had 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for the Pioneers, who also suffered a 55-32 loss to the Dragons in the annual holiday tournament. Silver Creek now has four straight wins in the series.
Providence (6-8) – Griffin Libs 8, Dawson Mitchell 4, Alex Judd 6, Sam Conrad 6, Justin Betz 12, Parker Graf 2.
Silver Creek (14-2) – Gabe Bauer 10, Jake Steele 11, Christian Reed 7, Nick Tinsley 15, Cameron Cook 4, Nick Kirchgessner 2, Ryan Baker 2, Evan Simmons 2.
3-point goals – Conrad 1, Betz 2, Bauer 1.
Justin Sokeland can be followed on Twitter at @golfguru55.