LONGMONT — The Silver Creek boys basketball team has been operating all season thus far without perhaps its second best player in Christian Warner, who broke his wrist and has yet to take the floor for the Raptors.
With a competitive Erie team in town on Wednesday night, the Raptors' lineup took another unexpected ding when senior big man Trevor Riters was hit in the face and could not return to the game because his left eye was swollen shut. The Raptors expect to be presented with challenges like these, and others, all season long and were prepared enough to pull out a 67-60 win at the end of a close game against the Erie Tigers.
Though the Raptors can't wait to get their injured starters back — and they will soon — players like Nick Eaton have more than done their share of shouldering the load in the meantime for the undefeated Raptors.
"Someone has to step up and we have to continue to play as a team," Eaton said. "We've got to make sure that our weakest link should be a strong player as well. Everyone just has to do their job."
Eaton scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half to keep the Raptors (3-0) ahead of Erie (3-3) early on while the Raptors defensive efforts held the visiting Tigers to seven points in the first quarter. With Silver Creek holding a 17-7 lead to start the second, the game was nearly even after that. The Tigers hung around, trailing by between 11 and seven points for most of the final three quarters but couldn't make a game-tying run.
The Tigers also did a good job of limiting Silver Creek's leading scoring Trent Dykema to 21 points, which is well below the even 31 he averaged in the Raptors' first two games. But Eaton and Erik Grossaint senior Erik Grossaint, who scored 16 points, helped fill in the scoring line.
"This was a good night for us," Raptors head coach Bob Banning said. "Erie is a good ball club and both teams fought through some foul trouble. They have great athletes and I thought their game plan was excellent. They made Trent work for about everything, which is what I would do. He knows that not every night is going to be a golden night but he's a competitor and he handled it well."
Right at .500 for the season, the Tigers were led by Jeffrey Farineau and Luke Loy, who each scored 13 points. With Jordon Nguyen scoring 12 and Jadon Lucero adding 10, the Erie game plan of spreading the ball around and hounding Dykema nearly paid off in a win that that would have made it three in a row.
"We have a group with great chemistry and great competitors," Erie head coach Scott Melin said. "We had a good game plan and we came out and showed that tonight. I'm proud of our guys for being disciplined with it and getting after it."
The Raptors will host Summit on Friday in their last game before the holiday break. The Tigers also have one more game before the break, which will be at home against Centaurus on Saturday.
Silver Creek 67, Erie 60
At Silver Creek H.S.
Larson 1 0-0 2, Humble 0 0-0 0, Tyson 2 4-7 8, K. Loy 1 0-0 2, Meier 0 0-0 0, Nguyen 4 3-3 12, L. Loy 5 1-2 13, Farineau 5 2-4 13, Lucero 3 4-5 10, Mathis 0 0-0 0, Yopp 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 14-21 60.
SILVER CREEK (3-0)
Belcher 2 3-5 9, Eaton 4 7-12 15, Dykema 6 9-11 21, Duquette 2 2-4 6, Roth-Bogrett 0 0-0 0, Hubert 0 0-0 0, Riters 0 0-0 0, Michelli 0 0-0 0, Grossant 6 4-10 16. Totals .
Score by quarters:Erie 7 18 18 17—60
Silver Creek 17 18 17 15—67
3-point field goals — Erie (4): L. Loy 2, Nguyen, Farineau; Silver Creek (2): Belcher 2. Total fouls — Erie 28, Silver Creek 22. Fouled out — Farineau, L. Loy, Eaton.