LONGMONT — The Longmont boys basketball team wasn't an overwhelmingly popular preseason pick to win state last season but the Trojans brought home the Class 4A championship trophy anyway.
They captured something special last season, and the Longmont boys seem to have just kept that mojo rolling right along into the 2018-19 campaign — so far this winter, the defending champs remain undefeated. Ranked No. 2 in 4A by the CHSAANow.com poll, the Trojans' unbeaten streak continued with a 65-36 road win over a tough Silver Creek Raptors team on Wednesday night.
"Defending champs" sure does have a nice ring to it. Trojans senior Beck Page, however, said the Trojans have another way of looking at this winter's goals.
"We're playing really well this season," Page said. "Obviously we won last year, but we're going into this season with the mindset that instead of defending our title, we're pursuing another one. We just want to go out there, take it a game at a time and hopefully get back to the championship game."
The top two teams in the Northern League last season, the Trojans (11-0, 2-0) and Raptors (6-5, 0-2) played one another closely in the first quarter and were tied to start the next period. Despite an early Silver Creek lead, the Trojans dominated the second quarter, in which seven different Longmont players scored, and led by 12 at halftime.
Holding the Raptors to five points in the third quarter, the Trojans pulled further ahead. They led by 25 points to start the fourth and held on easily to win.
"That's a good team and it's a cross-town rival so they're always going to give us a good fight," Page said. "At first, they came out and they were playing really well. They were hitting some good shots. We just kind of got it together and in the second half we started to put it on them once we started to play some team ball."
In the midst of an incredibly difficult stretch of three ranked opponents in one week, the Raptors lost 39-37 to No. 10 Centaurus on Tuesday night, lost to No. 2 Longmont on Wednesday and will play No. 4 Greeley Central on Friday. Making matters worse, junior point guard Andrew Duquette suffered a high ankle sprain in Tuesday's loss to Centaurus.
"First of all, Longmont is a very good basketball team that has a great pedigree," Raptors head coach Bob Banning said. "They have a lot of guys back from a state championship season so that's a mature basketball team. We had a tough loss last night and we were a little shorthanded without a player who gives us a lot of energy. We were a lot more disciplined in the first quarter and half but Longmont made us pay later in the game."
While Silver Creek gets the Wildcats Friday, Longmont will play at Niwot on the same day.
Longmont 65, Silver Creek 36
At Silver Creek H.S.
LONGMONT (11-0, 2-0)
Schneider 2 3-4 7, Yazzie 0 0-0 0, Derksen 1 0-0 2, Renck 3 2-2 8, Elkins 4 3-4 11, Dye 4 2-2 10, Dehning 1 2-2 4, Rulon 0 0-0 0, Sprecher 0 0-0 0, Page 3 0-0 8, Seamons 6 0-0 13, Kurjak 1 0-0 2, Nowells 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 12-14 65.
SILVER CREEK (6-5, 0-2)
Belcher 4 2-2 11, Eaton 6 9-13 22, Rich 1 0-0 2, Peter 0 0-2 0, Koelfgren 0 0-0 0, Kuehl 0 0-0 0, Garcia 0 1-2 1, Hasan 0 0-0 0, Ordway 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Scott 0 0-0 0, Oster 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 12-19 36.
Score by quarters:Longmont 12 20 18 15 — 65
3-point field goals — Longmont (3): Page 2, Seamons; Silver Creek (2): Belcher, Eaton. Total fouls — Longmont 20, Silver Creek 19. Fouled out — Dehning, Rich. Technical fouls — Longmont team.