Silver Creek’s Rhythm Ajanku drives past two Thompson Valley defenders Tuesday night in Longmont. More photos:
Silver Creek's Rhythm Ajanku drives past two Thompson Valley defenders Tuesday night in Longmont. More photos: (Kira Horvath / Staff Photographer)

LONGMONT — The Silver Creek boys basketball team needed a win on Tuesday night to remain in the hunt for one of the three remaining automatic playoff bids out of the Northern League.

But in a home rematch against a Thompson Valley team that the Raptors lost to by just one point on the road earlier in the season, the Raptors came up short. Without their usually stout defense the hot-shooting Eagles went ahead early and held the lead on the way to a 77-64 win.

"Thompson Valley is a very good team," Raptors head coach Bob Banning said. "They shot the ball better than we did. I thought at the end we made a nice run and it seemed like a lot of our shots were going in and out. But overall, I think we didn't play as free and with as much urgency as we have been lately."

The Raptors (14-8, 8-5 Northern) actually led the Eagles (15-7, 10-3 Northern), who now have a firm hold on third place in the Northern League, 17-16 after the first quarter. But in the second, the Raptors made just four of 12 shot attempts and fell behind 35-28 at halftime.

The Raptors cut the Eagles' lead, which swelled to 19 points at one point in the fourth quarter, to 10 points with 1:16 left. But with the Eagles shooting 53 percent from the field, even the Raptors' 11 3-pointers weren't enough to bridge the gap.

"They did a nice job," Banning said. "When we got behind, we were having a hard time of finding the guys we needed to find on defense. They did a good job of finding those guys. The last time we played, we were ahead and that allowed us to sit back and run a few defenses that are a little more direct. When we're behind, we can't run those same defenses because they're going to run the clock out."


In the teams' first meeting of the season on Jan. 22, the Eagles defeated the Raptors 45-44 in Loveland.

On Tuesday, senior Rhythm Ajanku (14.7 ppg) led the Raptors with 17 points. As a team, the Raptors shot 36 percent from the field.

For their final game of the season, the Raptors will travel across town to face Longmont (21-1, 13-0 Northern) on Thursday.

Brad Cochi: or


Thompson Valley 77, Silver Creek 64

At Silver Creek H.S.

THOMPSON VALLEY (15-7, 10-3)

Jeremy Wagonmaker 1 0-0 2, Mitch Zundel 2 4-4 9, Julian Espinoza 5 0-0 14, Cole Robinson 3 1-2 9, Jake Hornick 4 7-7 15, Jacob Bosse 3 2-4 8, Joey Shaffer 2 3-4 7, Jared 6 1-2 13. Totals 26 18-23 77.

SILVER CREEK (14-8, 8-5)

Rhythm Ajanku 5 3-3 17, Nick Hartman 3 0-0 7, Reese Barracks 1 0-0 2, Anthony Kasper 2 1-3 7, Trent Dykema 2 4-6 10, Andrew Rapp 1 0-0 2, Sam Schlegel 2 0-0 5, Khari Harrison 3 3-5 9, Hunter Becvar 2 0-0 5, Christian Warner 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 11-17 64.

Score by quarters:

Thompson Valley 16 19 20 22 — 77

Silver Creek 17 11 14 22 — 64

3-point field goals — Thompson Valley (7): Espinoza 4, Robinson 2, Zundel; Silver Creek (11): Ajanku 4, Kasper 2, Dykema 2, Hartman, Schlegel, Becvar. Total fouls — Thompson Valley 18, Silver Creek 23. Fouled out — Hartman, Rapp.