By Gib Snyder III
SILVER CREEK - Brennan White scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help Silver Creek (9-3, 5-1) open up a close game as the Black Knights defeated the Southwestern Trojans (4-6), 68-48, Friday night during Division 1 West I boys basketball action.
"Brennan's been scoring double digits the last three games," Silver Creek coach Rob Genco said. "Kaine (Kettle has scored) double digits the last three. So that unselfishness and getting the ball to the guy that's open, and not worrying about (themselves), is working. They're back to buying into that. And (Friday), four starters were in double digits."
The home team entered the fourth quarter holding a 48-40 edge, but were able to put together a lengthy scoring run when the Trojans went cold from the field.
"I think so," Southwestern coach Andy Krenzer said when asked if his team got tired in the fourth quarter. "We stopped making some shots and when you miss shots, (Silver Creek) gets a chance to run. If we would have held it to within 10 (points) there, we maybe would have had a shot at the end."
Silver Creek closed the game outscoring Southwestern, 20-8, and got eight points from White and six of Kettle's game-high 22 points.
"The rust is knocked off," Genco said of Kettle, who missed five games earlier in the season. "Even in practice he's finishing everything. He's our Energizer Bunny and he has the same level of intensity and hustle in practice as he does (during the games). He's bouncing off one wall, getting up and bouncing off the other wall. He's making open-court steals and finishing them on the other end."
The Black Knights opened the game on a 9-2 run before the Trojans were able to claw their way to within three, 11-8, with 2:55 left. But Silver Creek ended the first quarter on an 8-3 run to push the lead to 19-11 heading into the second quarter.
"(Southwestern) ran zone against us last time, so we were prepared more for zone than we were for (man-to-man)," Genco said. "We called a couple of set plays and our guys executed them."
Southwestern came out playing better basketball in the second quarter as it outscored Silver Creek, 16-12, and headed into the break down, 31-27.
"I thought we picked and popped really well," Krenzer said. "And we were screening and rolling and then hitting jumpers really well. And I thought our guys recognized that Silver Creek wasn't coming up on them and we did a really nice job there."
"I think because of the last game against them, our guys kind of underestimated the energy level (Southwestern) was going to bring," Genco noted.
Mike Sandbloom and Jack Carlson had four points each for the Trojans in the second quarter while Riley Rybicki and Andy Bell had three points apiece.
"Riley Rybicki is a senior that has been playing so hard for us defensively," Krenzer said. "And assists-wise. He doesn't get a ton of points, but he's a rock for us."
In the third quarter, Silver Creek was able to build leads of 43-33 and 48-38, before ending the stanza up, 48-40.
"Andy is going to get his guys dialed in just like everybody else," Genco said. "I think across the league, every team is better. Maple Grove is better, (Southwestern) is better. It just takes a little bit to get guys going."
"They're a very talented team," Krenzer said of Silver Creek. "But we wanted them to at least play a half-court game with us. And I thought we did a good job of forcing that."
White had eight points to lead the Black Knights, six of which came on two of his four 3-pointers on the night.
"Brennan's a kid that will hit 10 or 12 threes in a game if you leave him open," Genco said. "He's got a nice, smooth stroke. But I don't think he's going to get too many more open shots after the last couple of games."
As the fourth quarter began to be played out, it became apparent that for the second time this season, the Black Knights were just too much for the Trojans to handle.
"We ended up going (man-to-man) in the fourth quarter," Genco noted. "We haven't run much (man-to-man) all year and last year, that's all we ran. So we kind of got away from what we do. To start the season, when we were running a lot of (man-to-man) it wasn't working well, because we weren't dialed in.
"We've seemed to turn the corner a little bit since that Fredonia game as far as being at practice and being focused," Genco continued. "They're learning and I think they found our identity (Friday). That's the one adjustment we made."
NOTES: Billy Brooks finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the win ... Kettle added five rebounds, five steals and four assists to go with his 22 points ... White chipped in three rebounds, three steals and three assists ... Sandbloom had a team-high 13 points for the Trojans while adding three assists, three rebounds and two steals ... Burk finished the night with 10 points, five assists and four rebounds.