LONGMONT — Every quarter of the Silver Creek-Longmont boys basketball game Thursday night ended with a thrill. And there were plenty of great moments in the surrounding minutes, as well.
That's what rivalries are supposed to be about.
In this school battle that has seen Longmont prevail 15 of the past 16 times, Silver Creek once again did not back down. But with a chance to wrap up a top seed in this upcoming Class 4A playoffs and the home games that come along with that, Longmont did the right things in the final minutes for a 51-43 Northern League victory at LHS.
Getting the ball in the hands of your top scorer is definitely a right thing, and Justinian Jessup's emphatic drive and dunk with a little more than 1 minute left in the game capped brilliantly a second consecutive 14-0 league mark for LHS.
But the Trojans (22-1 overall) had to gut this one out, no doubt, with Jessup sitting most of the third quarter in foul trouble. Kolton Bachman delivered a couple key baskets in the third quarter on his way to nine points — he had a big swat in the fourth frame, as well — while Ryan Rulon hit back-to-back 3-pointers that kept LHS afloat.
David Speidel had three 3-pointers, and Longmont shot 18-for-32 from the floor overall.
"They came out with great intensity and we knew it was going to be tough, but it was fun," Bachman said. "They play hard all the time.
"Coach (Jeff Kloster) always emphasizes inside-out first, and when we attacked the rim we caught some guys open outside ready to shoot. It was good teamwork."
Back to that dunk, though. With the score stagnant at 44-40 for 3 full minutes late in the contest, Jessup saw an opportunity to drive in from the right wing. Getting past one defender and with help coming too late, Jessup power-slammed the ball — even Creek students could be seen dropping their jaws.
"That was crazy," Bachman said. "He makes a lot of those kind of plays."
Khari Harrison, who had all 10 of his points after halftime, also had a big answer of a dunk with less than 1 minute to go, but the Trojans had the cushion to withstand it.
Trent Dykema had 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting, and Rhythm Ajanku scored 13 points, all in the first half. Raptors coach Bob Banning said he hopes his team (14-9, 8-6) showed enough guts in this game to make an impression on the seeding committee.
"It was a cat-and-mouse game the whole time, you know, but I was real proud of the way my guys responded all night," Banning said. "We challenged guys. We answered a dunk with a dunk, we took some charges. Symbolic stuff.
"Hopefully we played well enough to get in, because I think we're a very dangerous team."
Longmont 51, Silver Creek 43
At Longmont HS
SILVER CREEK (14-9, 8-6)
Ajanku 4 2-2 13, Hartman 0 0-0 0, Barracks 0 2-3 2, Kasper 0 0-0 0, Dykema 6 4-7 16, Rapp 0 0-0 0, Schlegel 1 0-0 2, Harrison 3 4-6 10, Becvar 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 12-18 43.
LONGMONT (22-1, 14-0)
Sullivan 1 2-8 4, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Jessup 5 4-4 15, Speidel 3 0-0 9, Rothe 0 0-0 0, Bachman 4 1-4 9, Rulon 2 1-2 7, Mugunga 2-13 5, Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Riss 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 9-21 51.
Score by quarters:Silver Creek 8 10 12 13 — 43
Longmont 12 13 12 14 — 51
3-point field goals — Silver Creek (3): Ajanku 3; Longmont (6): Speidel 3, Rulon 2, Jessup. Fouled out — Jessup.