Hot-shooting Dragons stop Olympians

Silver Creek didn’t make every shot it threw up on Saturday night. It only seemed that way.

The undefeated Dragons, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, went 8 of 10 from the field in the second half and went 8 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final 37 seconds to hang on for a 55-43 win at Columbus East.

“I think they are a really nice team,” East coach Brent Chitty said. “They can shoot the ball well. When they had to hit shots, they knocked them down, so I have to give them a lot of credit.”

Silver Creek (6-0) finished 18 of 33 from the field, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range. The Olympians (1-2) went 18-of-40 from the field, including just 3 of 14 from behind the arc.

“Good shooters take good shots,” Chitty said. “We can’t panic and force shots or get in a hurry. We just have to keep working for good shots.”

Free-throw shooting also haunted East for the second consecutive night. After going 11 of 24 from the line in Friday’s loss at Bedford North Lawrence, the Olympians went 4 of 10 on Saturday.

“We’re just going to keep working on it,” Chitty said. “We practice it, and we’re going to continue to practice it, and hopefully we’ll become really good at it.”

East took its last lead at 33-32 on a 3-pointer by Tanner McFall with 3:34 left in the third quarter. The Dragons then went on a 9-0 run to take a 41-33 lead and built the margin to 46-37 with 4:46 left in the game.

From there, neither team scored again until 1:26 remained. The Olympians cut the lead to 47-43 on a three-point play by Kevin Williams with 39 seconds left, but Silver Creek then made eight straight free throws to seal it.

“I thought our kids battled,” Chitty said. “We’re kind of in a little shooting slump. We just need to identify some roles. We’re not shooting with a lot of confidence. I can’t fault our kids’ effort. We have to show some offensive things and shoot with a little bit more confidence.”

Williams finished with 13 points to lead East. Parker Chitty added 11.

Cameron Stephens scored a game-high 20 points for the Dragons.

“We play good teams, and we really believe that the schedule we play is going to make us tournament ready,” Brent Chitty said. “That’s our goal — to be playing our best basketball by tournament time. We know it’s a grind. You just have to embrace it.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.