ROCHESTER — Tears flowed from the Silver Creek bench last week when the Black Knights won the sectional championship. A few players ran into the stands to hug family members. The rest reveled in the moment, concealing their crying eyes inside a group hug.
The mood was much different on the bench Saturday at Blue Cross Arena after Silver Creek outlasted Section V Class C champion Mynderse, 53-47, to secure the school’s first Far West Regional title.
“They were as cool and collected and non-emotional as I’ve ever seen a group that just won a big game,” winning coach Robert Genco said. “After that last game, their mentality was, we’re here, let’s finish this. Now that it’s set in that they are going to Glens Falls, it’s we’re not done, let’s focus on finishing this season.”
The business-like Black Knights (23-0) did take some enjoyment away from their school-record tying win.
Silver Creek started slowly, trailing for most of the first half while shooting 34 percent, missing all eight three-point attempts and turning the ball over on more than a quarter of its possessions.
“The first half was kind of lousy,” senior standout Zed Williams said. “They were a lot better than we thought. We underestimated them. At halftime we had to regroup.”
A change of defense ignited Silver Creek’s offense in the second half.
“They were controlling the pace of the game,” Genco said. “What we did was switch from man to a 3-2 zone, which we almost never do. But we knew coming in that maybe we could leak a guy out there in that 3-2 zone and get some buckets.”
Williams stole the ball at the top of the zone on consecutive possessions leading to a Billy Brooks putback basket that gave the Black Knights their first lead, 31-30, since the early going. Williams then scored six points and assisted on a Steve Marcey three-pointer as Silver Creek closed the quarter on a 14-2 run.
Williams fed Brooks for a layup early in the fourth and Kaine Kettle’s fastbreak layup after a behind-the-back-pass fake pushed the Black Knights’ lead to 45-32.
Mynderse got the lead down to three but Williams squashed the comeback effort when he plucked an offensive rebound off the floor and floated a 10-footer through the net to make it a two-possession game. Brooks then blocked a shot, fearless of the fact that he was one foul away from a disqualification, and a Kettle offensive rebound with less than a minute left sealed the win.
Williams scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the second half, added nine rebounds and four steals. Brooks had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Silver Creek, the No. 2 Class C team in the state, will now face top-ranked Pine Plains from Section IX at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association tournament in Glens Falls.