Reaching new heights

The Silver Creek Black Knights (12-3, 10-2) reached a milestone, held a lead midway through the third quarter and traded blows with the Fredonia Lady Hillbillies?(12-3, 10-2) for four quarters Thursday night.

Silver Creek played a solid all-around game, but in the end, the balanced attack of Fredonia proved to be too much as the Lady Hillbillies pulled away in the fourth quarter to pick up a 65-54 victory in CCAA West I girls basketball.

In the loss, Silver Creek senior Jordan Brooks surpassed the 1,000-point plateau with her first bucket of the game.

Brooks finished with an impressive double-double of 29 points and 25 rebounds. She also had four blocks. Brooks scored the 1,000th point of her career on her first basket of the game. Rice quickly called timeout after the score to retrieve the ball and congratulate her star player.

“I’m so proud of Jordan for getting her 1,000th point,” Rice said. “She needed 20 points in the game against Maple Grove and came up with 19. She had two free throws with 20 seconds left and made the first. She knew she only needed that last one to get it, but hit the front of the rim. So it was nice for her to get it out of the way early in the game (yesterday).”

Midway through the third quarter, with the game tied at 36-all, Fredonia’s Alicia Deering scored to give the Lady Hillbillies a two-point lead. The Black Knights would answer right back as Brooks received an entry pass into the post, went up strong and tied the game while being fouled on the play.

Brooks then converted the free throw to give the Black Knights a 39-38 lead. Unfortunately for Silver Creek, that proved to be its last lead as Fredonia outscored the Black Knights 9-4 in the final minutes of the third quarter to take a 47-43 lead.

In the fourth, Fredonia slowly pulled away as Sarah Cruver led the team down the stretch by scoring six points in the final stanza to help seal the victory.

“We had a lot of players step up and contribute,” Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle said. “That’s a lot of points for us. We don’t score 65 points very often. Alicia (Deering) has been injured all week and for her to come in and have 11 points without practicing all week was big for us. Sarah Cruver came in and had six points in the fourth quarter; that’s just great.”

Deering steadily provided offense for the Lady Hillbillies who had four players score in double digits.

Early on, it looked as if the game would be a blow out in favor of Fredonia. The home team came out on fire in the first quarter and scored 21 points to set the tone early.

Morgan Genovese got things going with eight points in the first, including two 3-pointers in the first four minutes of play.

Silver Creek also jumped out to a fast start on the back of Brooks, who had six points of her own in the first four minutes. But Fredonia would take a 21-13 lead into the second quarter.

“All the girls did a great job, especially on Brooks,” Zirkle said. “They are giving up a lot of inches to her and I thought they all battled really hard. You need to get every rebound you can when you are going against someone with that kind of size advantage.”

In the second, Silver Creek outscored Fredonia 15-10 and held a 28-27 lead with under a minute left before halftime when the Lady Hillbillies scored the final four points of the quarter.

“We had a goal going into the second quarter to cut their lead in half,” Silver Creek coach Tammy Rice said. “Then we came out and missed two layups, but were still able to achieve our goal and went into halftime trailing by three points.

As the game went on, the Lady Hillbillies’ depth became too much and they were able to come away with their second win over the Black Knights in as many tries this season.

“I thought we played with a lot of heart and intensity,” Zirkle said. “Execution was our word of the week and we executed well, but there were times where we simply didn’t execute.”

Silver Creek finished 12 of 26 from the free throw line and uncharacteristically missed many open shots, including multiple layups. According to Rice, the pressure of the game seemed to impact her players in a way that hasn’t happened much this season.

“We normally shoot better from the free-throw line than we did (yesterday),” Rice said. “I think that this was a high-pressure game. Fredonia is a great team and the girls really wanted to win because beating Fredonia is an accomplishment to be proud of. That made those layups and foul shots all the more nerve racking. We missed shots where there was no one else around and against a good team you just can’t miss those.”

Genovese led Fredonia with 16 points to go with four steals. Deering would finish with 11 points and Cruver contributed 10 points, six rebounds and three steals in the win.

Hannah Cybart rounded out the quartet of double-digit scorers with 10 points. Caitlyn Cybart added seven rebounds and Kirsta Wheelock finished with six assists and four rebounds.

Jade Lewis finished with 13 points and seven assists while Kalee Dexter pulled down 10 rebounds.

Fredonia has a tough matchup Saturday at home against Holland while the Black Knights host Falconer on Monday for their Senior Night.