FLUSH — The Rock Creek girls’ basketball was stifled by the Silver Lake defense Friday night on its home floor in a 42-35 defeat.
The Eagles controlled the first half with a five-point lead and the Silver Lake defense — along with a big half from senior Jamie Pfannenstiel — did the rest of the work.
Junior Mackenzie Freeman led the Eagles with 13 points — including three 3s — while Campbell added 11, all in the second half.
Senior Elizabeth Herrs led Rock Creek with 13 points.
“The game was too rough for us,” Mustangs head coach Mike Zabel said. “They’re just so strong. The game was way too physical.
“I thought at some point it was going to be a closely-called game, but then it turned the other way, and boy, when that happened it’s hard because of (Silver Lake’s) style of play is kind of like a Frank Martin K-State style. I lot of forearms, hip-checks — once it got to that stage, we were in trouble.”
Still, Zabel was appreciative of his team’s fight.
“I have to say we really fought, scrapped, hung in there and gave our selves a little bit of a chance there, but (the Eagles) are an awfully good free-throw shooting team, so it’s hard to catch up in that situation.”
Rock Creek was without junior point guard Shiann Bruce, who went down early in a Feb. 3 loss to Riley County with a torn ACL.
Zabel said her presence has been missed.
“It would have been nice to have her out there,” he said. “She handles the ball for us about 90 percent of the time, and that was probably key. Our stats showed we had about 20 turnovers, and that’s about 10 too many against (Silver Lake).”
After halftime, the Eagles opened the half with a 3-pointer from the right wing from by Freeman to extend the Silver Lake lead 21-13. It looked as if the Eagles were in blow-out mode senior Kayla Thayer muscled a shot under the basket to widen the gap even more at 32-19 with 3 minutes left in the quarter.
But the Mustangs rallied, though.
Following a Rock Creek timeout, junior Megan Srna drew a foul that sent her to the free throw line where she was 2-for-2. Then after another Silver Lake bucket, senior Jessi Snapp went to the line for the Mustangs where she was also made both shots.
Rock Creek got a stop on defense during the following play and a 3-pointer on the other end of the floor by senior Caitline Christenson had the Mustangs back in the game.
Another trip to the charity stripe for Rock Creek added another point to the scoreboard and the Mustangs went into the fourth quarter down 34-27.
The momentum continued to start the final period, as senior Bailey Elliott was wide open under the rim for an easy basket, but Pfannenstiel ended the good vibes for Rock Creek with a trey from the corner.
Rock Creek got a break, though, after the play.
The Mustangs drew a foul from Silver Lake’s Kaci Campbell — her fifth. Upset, the Eagles’ senior didn’t agree with the call and was called for a technical.
But, Rock Creek missed on the front end of the 1-and-1 and were only 1-for-2 for the technical shots. The Mustangs quickly got another foul call — with Silver Lake then in the double-bonus — but again was just 1-for-2 at the line.
Rock Creek wasn’t finished, though.
After a defensive stop, Elliott found the basket to tighten the game 37-33 nearing the 4-minute mark.
But, Freeman fired back and Silver Lake grew the deficit back to six points.
On the following Mustangs possession, the Eagles stole the ball and were in control the rest of the way.
Free throw shots by Pfannenstiel and senior Perry Krogman iced the game for Silver Lake in the final 2 minutes.
Silver Lake 42, Rock Creek 35
Silver Lake 12 6 16 8 — 42
Rock Creek 10 3 14 8 — 35
SILVER LAKE (42) — Freeman 13, Campbell 11, Krogman 6, Lane 4, Barker 4, Holder 2.
ROCK CREEK (35) — Herrs 13, Srna 9, Elliott 4, Christenson 3, Snapp 3, B. Campbell 3.
3-pointers — Silver Lake, 4 (Freeman 3, Pfannenstiel). Rock Creek 1 (Christenson).