CASTLE ROCK — If the Silver Creek girls basketball team is going to win many games this season, it's going to be because the Raptors succeeded at preventing opponents from putting up big scoring totals.
With several returning scorers and a solid crop of young talent entering the fold in 2016-17, the Raptors have enough offensive firepower to get by. But what figures to truly differentiate the Raptors is their defense, which was solid during a season-opening win against Standley Lake and less so in a follow-up loss to Evergreen last week.
After gaining a better understanding of their strengths through two games, the Raptors regained their defensive foothold on Wednesday, defeating Littleton 51-35 in the first round of the Douglas County Holiday Classic.
"There are certain things we're good at and certain things we're not really good at," Raptors head coach Dan Kloster said. "We want to make sure that we play to our strengths and try to minimize our weaknesses. Right now, we don't take care of the ball particularly well and we're struggling shooting the ball a little bit. Our strength is our defensive game and when we play with the kind of intensity I know we can play with, we can be pretty good."
Kloster said the Raptors defensive intensity was good, but not great in Wednesday night's nonconference game.
After allowing the Lions (2-1) to score 11 points in the first quarter, the Raptors (2-1) held their opponents to six points in the second to take a 27-17 halftime lead. With another solid defensive effort in the third quarter, during which the Lions mustered just eight points on four field goals, the Raptors built the lead they needed in order to pick up their second win of the young season.
"We want to play a certain brand of basketball," Kloster said. "We go deep, we can rotate a lot of players and we just want them to go hard while they're in. If we don't play that brand of basketball and we have to rely on our offensive skills, which right now have been a struggle for us, we're going to be fine."
At the offensive end, the Raptors spread the ball around effectively with eight players registering in the scoring book. Violet Kennedy led the team with 16 points, Liz Salmeron scored 12 and Kayla Noble had 10.
The Raptors will play the winner of Wednesday's later game between Coronado and Douglas County on Friday.
Silver Creek 51, Littleton 35
At Douglas County H.S.
Puchino 4 0-1 8, Bell 0 0-0 0, Paulson 2 0-1 4, Elder 2 1-2 5, Holyfield 0 4-6, 4, Fuchs 3 0-0 6, Sandstrom 1 2-4 4, Tobon 1 0-2 2. Totals 14 7-16 35.
SILVER CREEK (2-1)
S. Hebert 0 1-2 1, Noble 3 4-11 10, Kennedy 7 2-2 16, Volkmann 1 0-0 2, Salmeron 6 0-0 12, Scott 1 0-0 2, K. Hebert 0 0-0 0, Landrey 0 0-0 0, James 0 0-0 0, Tyrell 2 0-0 4, Nicholas 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 7-15 51.
Score by quarters:Littleton 11 6 8 10 — 35
Total fouls — Littleton 20, Silver Creek 20.