LONGMONT -- With two players sick and another sidelined with a knee injury, the Silver Creek boys basketball team didn't have much room for error.
So instead the Raptors created plenty of them against Denver North.
Using a stifling pressure defense, the Raptors forced 30 turnovers, unofficially, converting many of them into easy points and running away from the Vikings 61-39 on Friday night.
"Our defensive pressure really opened the game up for us," senior Luke Goforth said. "We were able to get some steals and put the ball in the hoop."
The strong defensive effort helped the team overcome the absence of three top players. Zane Lindsey and Tyrone White were out sick and junior Steven Campbell suffered a knee injury against Roosevelt nine days earlier. The extent of the injury is unknown.
"We were hoping to get an MRI this week but there was still swelling," coach Bob Banning said.
In their absence Banning used four players off junior varsity and one sophomore, Jordan Wright, who led Silver Creek with 14 points.
The Raptors (5-1) didn't need the trio against a taller but outworked Denver North squad. The Vikings boasted a 6-foot-7 Isaiah Martin, 6-6 Jazz Hallman and 6-4 Clinton Brown but none were effective against Silver Creek's frenetic defense.
"We had to use the same strategy against Skyline in the game before," Banning said. "It's hard to get the ball into the big kids if they can't see them. And we've got some quickness."
The pressure paid off in the second quarter when the game was still tight. Leading by just two, the Raptors went on a 15-4 run to end the first half. They scored eight of those points in 45 seconds when they forced Vikings turnovers on four consecutive possessions.
"We ran about three different trap sets. We found one at the end of the second quarter that gave us a pretty good run," Banning said. "We were changing things up on them and we were trying to give that guard different looks."
They used the same strategy to start the third quarter and quickly pushed the lead to 18 on a steal and bucket by Goforth.
Denver North (3-5) climbed back within 13 in the fourth but the defense came up with a few more steals and the Raptors closed it out with eight free throws down the stretch.
Now Silver Creek can head into the holiday break with a modest two-game win streak before facing Mead on Jan. 5.
"That's the biggest thing we could have hoped for, going out on a win," Goforth said.
Silver Creek 61, Denver North 39 DENVER NORTH (39)
Brown 5 1-3 12, Alhilo 3 1-3 7, Glover 2 1-1 6, Vandevelde 2 1-2 6, Martin 2 0-0 4, Hallman 1 0-0 2, Gilliam 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 4-9 39.
SILVER CREEK (61)
Wright 4 6-6 14, Goforth 4 4-4 13, Fleming 2 5-7 9, Johnson 3 1-2 8, Tarin 2 0-0 6, Machmuller 1 3-4 5, Engles 1 2-2 4, Grine 0 2-2 2. 17 23-27 61.
Score by quarters:
Denver North 9 11 9 10 -- 39
Silver Creek 10 23 10 18 -- 61
3-point field goals -- Denver North (3): Brown, Glover, Vandevelde; Silver Creek (4): Tarin 2, Johnson, Goforth. Total fouls -- Denver North 22, Silver Creek 14. Fouled out -- Escobedo. Technical fouls -- None.