LONGMONT — As soon as Silver Creek's Trent Dykema hit his fourth consecutive shot to start Saturday night's Class 4A playoff game, the junior had Palmer Ridge in his sights.
With help from a feisty defensive contribution from the entire Raptors lineup, the Bears never stood a chance. Silver Creek looked every bit the eager team that earned a bye and had a week to prepare for their next opponent, moving on to the Sweet 16 with an impressive 69-46 win at SCHS.
It was a playoff win that was a long time coming for this group as they captured their 21st victory of the year against just three losses. The past two seasons for Creek have ended up with first-round disappointments.
Not this time, and the slick-shooting Dykema made sure of it.
"The kid can ball," senior teammate Carter Blink said after the game.
In truth, Dykema just got the ball rolling and others followed. After hitting those first four attempts, he went on to hit three of his next five attempts — all 3-point makes — to have 17 points by halftime.
He slashed and cashed in points, but his jump shot was in-the-zone good and he would finish with 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting.
"I was just trying to get my shots to go, and they were falling so I kept looking to attack," Dykema said. "It was nice that the (3-pointers) was there. I got in a bit of foul trouble but the team picked it up."
The No. 10 seeded Raptors were in attack mode even if it meant a few offensive fouls against them, and Blink certainly was among those who fed off the pace Dykema had created. He finished with 10 points — five of those in the second quarter as Silver Creek increased a 15-5 first quarter advantage to 33-15 by halftime.
"I hadn't been attacking much earlier in the season, but I definitely saw some openings and took them tonight," Blink said. "We had a good week of practice and coach (Bob Banning) was on us to work really hard. They set up a good game plan for us and we executed. We have a lot of seniors on our club and we just love it. Every practice we take serious and we just don't want it to end."
As has been the case all season, Silver Creek's offense began with defense as No. 23 seed Palmer Ridge had eight turnovers in the first quarter and 29 for the game. The Bears (13-12) also were heavily out-rebounded (29-18) and gave up plenty of second looks for guys like Sam Schlegel (eight points all on free throws) and Kahri Harrison (nine points).
Silver Creek had just eight turnovers through three quarters.
"We really focused on dictating the tempo against this team, and when we were able to do that it really just set us up for the rest of it," Dykema said. "We scouted them pretty well, I think."
Silver Creek will head south to Pueblo on Wednesday to take on Pueblo West, the defending 4A champions. The Cyclones, A No. 7 seed, ate up Glenwood Springs on Saturday in a 100-49 blowout.
Silver Creek 69, Palmer Ridge 46
At Silver Creek HS
PALMER RIDGE (13-12)
Cordova 1 0-2 2, Hayes 0 0-0 0, Kugler 2 0-0 5, Reed 0 0-0 0, McLain 2 0-0 4, Boldvich 2 2-3 6, McLellan 4 0-1 8, Trego 3 0-0 8, Juiopperi 0 0-0 0, Hester 1 0-0 2, Rosenstrauch 5 0-0 11. Totals 20 2-6 46.
SILVER CREEK (21-3)
Becvar 1 3-4 5, Dykema 13 2-2 32, Blink 4 1-2 10, Harrison 4 0-2 9, Warner 0 0-0 0, Graves 0 0-0 0, Hassain 0 0-0 0, Hubert 0 0-0 0, Riters 0 0-0 0, Schlegel 0 8-10 8, Call 1 1-3 3, Joe Roth-Bogrott 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 15-23 69.
Score by quarters:Palmer Ridge 5 10 15 16 — 46
Silver Creek 15 18 21 15 — 69
3-point field goals — Palmer Ridge (4): Trego 2, Kugler, Rosenstrauch; Silver Creek (6): Dykema 4, Blink, Harrison. Fouled out — Hester.