Silver Creek falls at home to Allegany-Limestone

A Rough Knight

OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz Silver Creek’s Jaeleigh Cruz (right) looks to pass while defended by Allegany-Limestone’s Emily Giardini (22) during Friday’s game in Silver Creek. The visiting Lady Gators beat Silver Creek, 55-45.

SILVER CREEK — Redemption is one of the best feelings in the world, when you earn it.

The Silver Creek girls basketball team got their chance at revenge after a loss to Allegany-Limestone earlier in the season, but key buckets down the stretch by the Lady Gators propelled the visitors past the Black Knights, 55-45 in a CCAA Division 1 East league game on Friday at Silver Creek High School.

“I’m really proud of how they prepared for the game,” said Silver Creek coach Tammy Rice. “They were ready and came out very focused.”

Silver Creek (11-5, 5-4) knew coming into the game that the Lady Gators’ leading scorer Tierney Hemphill was going to be a handful to deal with. Hemphill proved that early by drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line in the first quarter.

While the free throw line was friendly to the Lady Gators in the first half, it wasn’t to the Black Knights. Silver Creek went 0-4 from the line in the first quarter, but were able to tie the contest at 11 after a 3-pointer from Abby Rice went in, seconds before the quarter expired.

OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz Silver Creek’s Kiera Brennan attempts a shot during Friday’s CCAA Division 1 East girls basketball game against Allegany-Limestone in Silver Creek.

That shot by Abby Rice seemingly gave the Black Knights momentum heading into the second quarter.

“We were hitting our shots,” said Tammy Rice about their success in the first half. “I think in the second half when we got tired (Allegany) would respond whereas we wouldn’t — that really took a toll on us.”

Back and forth the two teams went as the second quarter got underway. Each team traded the lead back to one another throughout the second quarter.

The difference in the second was Hemphill’s 3-point bucket in the last minute of the frame, giving the Gators a 28-25 lead at halftime.

As the third quarter got underway, that’s when the game started to slowly slip away from Silver Creek.

“There were moments in the third quarter where there were things that weren’t working for us,” said Tammy Rice. “We were dribbling too much and turning it over — we were trying to make those adjustments so there was a period where we shut down collectively.”

An 8-0 Allegany-Limestone run forced the Black Knights to call timeout midway through the quarter. Silver Creek trailed after the quarter by just seven points.

However as the fourth quarter got started, the Black Knights began to claw their way back. Abby Rice made a layup in close then drilled 3-point shot to pull her team within six points of the lead.

“I felt that the girls picked it back up in the fourth,” said Tammy Rice. “The combination of girls we had on the floor had a great mindset and played real hard right to the end.”

Allegany-Limestone’s Gianna DeRose drilled three 3-point baskets in the fourth quarter to put the Gators back up to a comfortable enough margin.

As the game wore down, Silver Creek was running out of time to come back and they were forced to foul.

Hemphill was crucial in hitting her free throws down the stretch for the Gators, going 11-14 from the line throughout the course of the game.

“When we started playing fast in the fourth and playing with that urgency picked us back up,” said Tammy Rice. “That gave us a chance, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Abby Rice finished the game with 21 points and racked up six assists to her teammates. Emma Rice was solid as well, hitting two 3-point shots while finishing with eight points. Jaylah Cossin added six points of her own.

Silver Creek will be back in action when they host Salamanca on Monday with the postseason looming right around the corner.

“The thing we’re working on right now is having that collective mindset,” said Tammy Rice. “Working together in all the right ways to get us where we want to be.”