Silver Creek downs Dunkirk 67-37 in season opener

Silver Creek Black Knights leading scorer Ray Cortes looks at a defender before rising up for a shot during Thursday’s non-league basketball game against the Dunkirk Marauders at Silver Creek High School. OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen

SILVER CREEK — With an entire rotation of returning players from last season’s team, the Silver Creek Black Knights have high hopes for the 2022-23 boys basketball season.

One game into the year, it was very clear to see the hype is warranted.

Behind a 27-point first quarter and a 49-point first half, Silver Creek rolled to a 67-37 non-league victory over the Dunkirk Marauders on Thursday night at Silver Creek High School in the season-opener for both teams.

“It’s good, it’s better than the alternative,” Silver Creek head coach Ralph Jackson joked after the 30-point victory. “It’s good getting out there, sharing the ball, doing the stuff we want to do playing as a team. It’s a good start to the season.”

Silver Creek (1-0) jumped out to a 9-2 lead just two minutes into the contest. Nearly five minutes in, the Black Knights extended their lead to 23-3. From that point, Silver Creek led by double digits for the rest of the game.

Silver Creek’s Matt Woleben (23) shoots a 3-pointer during the season-opening 67-37 victory for the Black Knights over the visiting Dunkirk Marauders on Thursday at Silver Creek High School. OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen

The Black Knights boast two of the top five returning scorers in all of Section VI this season in Ray Cortes and Matt Woleben — and they each lived up to expectations in Game 1. Cortes led all scorers with 22 points, while Woleben had 21 points, including a game-high 17 points in the first half.

But it wasn’t just the two star players Silver Creek came to rely upon so heavily last year who carried the load on Thursday night. Aidan Jamison added 13 points — all in the first half — including three 3-pointers. Silver Creek also got contributions from Jake Millar with four points, Shawn Kelly with a banked-in 3-pointer, and Simon White and John Steinwachs with a basket each.

“It was good, seeing them pass the ball around. We talked about that,” said Jackson. “Coming into the season, our goal was to get an extra scorer. Matt (Woleben) and Ray (Cortes) typically score a lot, but getting that third person involved (is our goal).”

Dunkirk (0-1) scored 10 points in each of the first two quarters to trail by 29 points at the break, 49-20. But even with the game starting to really get out of hand, the Marauders came out like an entirely different team to begin the second half. Dunkirk had a dominant stretch to start the third quarter, with a 15-2 run over the first four minutes of the second half to cut the deficit nearly in half.

“Coming out of halftime, it was just a matter of talking with them and having them dig deep. We know the type of players we have,” said Dunkirk head coach Sixto Rosario. “… We just motivated them to go out there and play hard — and they did that.”

Dunkirk leading scorer Lorenzo Lewis drives to the basket as Silver Creek’s Aidan Jamison defends during Thursday’s non-league basketball game at Silver Creek High School. OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen

From that point on, however, Dunkirk was held to just one basket over the final 12 minutes, as Silver Creek scored 16 of the final 18 points, including all 10 points total in the fourth quarter.

“Coming out of the half, we did not come out the way we want to,” said Jackson. “… But in the fourth quarter, we picked it up again.”

The Marauders were led in scoring by Lorenzo Lewis with 15 points. Greg Orcutt Jr. added 9 points, while Quanyay Thomas had 7 points, all in the third quarter. Miguel Santiago had 4 points and Louis Nunez had 2 points.

“I see a lot of positives. Yeah, we didn’t get a win tonight, but that’s OK,” said Rosario. “There are some things where we can go back to the drawing board and fix, and move forward from here.”

Dunkirk now looks ahead to a game at Chautauqua Lake on Wednesday, while Silver Creek has a week off before another Thursday home game, against Pine Valley.


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