LONGMONT — Ranked among the CHSAANow.com top 10 for less than a week, the No. 9 Silver Creek boys basketball team faced an immediate challenge to its position in seventh-ranked Vista PEAK on Saturday night.
In a battle of top 10 teams that the Raptors needed to win in order to stay on pace for the program's best season, leading scorer Trent Dykema just wasn't having his usual success shooting the basketball. But when the time arrived for someone to deliver the game-changing dagger late in a close game, the Raptors junior guard showed that his confidence had not wavered in the face of his own struggles.
With a minute left in the game, Dykema drew contact as he drove across a crowded lane and converted a three-point play to give his teammates the five-point lead they needed to finish off a 56-52 home victory.
The Raptors passed the test.
"I just wasn't going up strong enough so on that play, I just tried to attack the rim and get the contact," Dykema said. "We knew they were a good team and that it would be close. But we've been playing really well lately so we just wanted to play our game. We kept the game at our pace, stuck to our defense and ran through what we always do, and it worked in the end."
The Raptors (11-1, 4-1 Northern) held their own while the Bison (11-3, 2-0 East Metro) tried to speed up the non-conference game with their athleticism and full-court pressure, but still trailed the visiting team 31-27 at halftime. Led by senior forward Sam Schlegel, who scored 12 points in the second half, the Raptors held the Bison to seven points in the third quarter and entered the fourth with a five-point lead. The Bison cut the lead to two points with 1:53 left before Dykema's clutch basket.
For the Raptors, who have now won eight straight, Dykema (19 ppg) led with 15 points, Schlegel (13.5 ppg) scored 14. Senior guard Hunter Becvar (12.2 ppg) scored 12 points while shooting 50 percent from the field.
"That's a tremendous team that we just played and they're very well-coached so it's a timely win for us," Raptors head coach Bob Banning said. "We had to alter our style a little bit, not too much but a little bit, to accommodate their speed. Our kids this year have great chemistry and work really hard and their execution was great tonight."
The Raptors will host Centaurus (3-9, 0-6 Northern) on Tuesday. After that, they'll hit the road to face league-leading Northridge (11-3, 5-0 Northern) on Thursday in a game that could decide the Northern League regular-season champion. Northridge defeated Silver Creek 58-57 on Jan. 3.
Silver Creek 56, Vista PEAK 52
At Silver Creek H.S.
VISTA PEAK (11-3)
T. Johnson 3 0-0 7, Holt 5 5-7 15, Sanders 1 0-0 2, Early 8 0-0 19, Bailey 1 0-0 2, M. Johnson 2 0-0 4, Terry 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 5-7 52.
SILVER CREEK (11-1)
Becvar 6 0-0 12, Trent Dykema 6 3-4 15, Blink 2 0-0 5, Harrison 3 2-2 8, Warner 1 0-0 2, Schlegel 3 5-5 14, Call 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-11 56.
Score by quarters:Vista PEAK 12 19 7 14 — 52
Silver Creek 13 14 16 13 — 56
3-point field goals — Vista PEAK (3): Early 2, T. Johnson; Silver Creek (1): Blink. Total fouls — Vista PEAK 14, Silver Creek 11. Fouled out — Holt, M. Johnson.