LONGMONT — It was a snowy Friday in west Longmont, but for the Silver Creek boys basketball team, the night was anything but cold.
The Raptors (7-7, 1-4 Northern League) found their first league victory in a 78-66 battle against Niwot (7-7, 1-4 Northern League) with the help of Andrew Duquette's 27 points.
Heading into the game, the teams shared a combined record of 13-13 with only one league win between them. Friday night was an opportunity for the Raptors to set themselves apart moving forward and gain respect where it matters most — in league play. While defending 4A state champion Longmont seem untouchable, the rest of the pack is within reach.
"This league is pretty deep," said Raptors head coach Bob Banning. "A lot of good teams. Our losses, with the exception of the Longmont game, have been really tight losses."
The Raptors improved to 1-4 in the Northern League and hope to bring the momentum to Mountain View on Thursday.
Duquette hit two 3-pointers in a row to give the Raptors a 16-11 lead early in the first quarter before a Mario Garcia 3-pointer stretched the lead to 19-11. Niwot's Thomas Bounds had 16 points in the first half but couldn't seem to find help from teammates early on. The Raptors lead the Cougars 45-28 going into the half.
In the second half, the Raptors lead by as many as 20 points. A 4-point play by Bounds brought some much needed energy back to the Cougars. After missed opportunities on the Raptor side of the court, the Cougars capitalized and cut the deficit to seven points with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Just as it seemed momentum would swing the other way, a Raptors alley-oop put the crowd back on its feet and a deep Duquette 3-pointer reminded the Cougars who was in control.
Duquette finished as the Raptors' leading scorer, but Nick Eaton also added 25. Niwot's Bounds kept things interesting with an impressive game-high 28 points, and Cooper Sheldon and Dominik Luthens added 13 apiece.
Niwot will take on 4A No. 9 Centaurus at home on Tuesday.