LONGMONT — One of just two remaining unbeaten teams in Class 4A, the Longmont boys know Colorado is watching and waiting for them to slip up or have an off night.
They're well aware how they play each night is interpreted either as a show of dominance or a sign of vulnerability by those who endeavor to knock off the reigning state champions.
On Friday night, the Trojans chose dominance. And the signal was clear as ever.
Ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, the Trojans used a 78-38 home victory against No. 9 Greeley Central to make it clear that they don't intend to let up until after they've crossed the finish line again at the end of this season.
"It just felt like a statement game," said Trojans senior Calvin Seamons, who stamped an exclamation point on his team's statement with an alley-oop dunk in the third quarter. "They're a good team and it was a big conference matchup so we had to come to play. We know Lewis-Palmer (No. 1) is in the gym. We know Holy Family (No. 3) is in the gym. So we just wanted to send a statement out to everybody."
With a commanding lead in the Northern League standings, the Trojans (16-0, 7-0) have been incredible at the defensive end of the floor. They continued their defensive dominance against the Wildcats (11-5, 4-3), holding the visiting team's top scorers — Jackson Hayslip (22.1 ppg) and Spencer Conway (13.3 ppg) — to a combined 21 points.
Through 16 games, Longmont has held its opponents to an average of 41.25 points. Their defensive efforts have allowed the Trojans to win their first 16 games by an average margin of 27.3 points.
"Man, we worked hard tonight," Longmont head coach Jeff Kloster said. "The tone of the game was set at the defensive end. We knew they were a dribble-drive team and we knew numbers (Hayslip and Conway) were their two cogs. We made them work hard and take difficult looks every time down the floor.
"The kids really enjoyed tonight. They were very unselfish and played like a typical unselfish team. They rewarded each other at the offensive end and we got into a tremendous rhythm once that transition game of ours took effect."
Including a season-high 88 points against Northridge on Tuesday, the Trojans are averaging 83 points in their last two games.
Longmont's trio of double-figure scorers — Beck Page, Brady Renck and Seamons — combined to score 43 points against the Wildcats. Ten different Trojans scored at least two points, and junior Ryan Schneider scored all 10 of his points to help pace a 28-point Longmont second quarter that gave the Trojans a 43-17 halftime lead.
The most points Schneider, who transferred to Longmont from Faith Christian, had scored in an entire game prior to Friday night was 12.
"Ryan Schneider really came through tonight," Kloster said. "He's a hard worker and he has just been patiently waiting. He's a coach's dream as far as someone new coming into your program, being all-in and having a great basketball IQ. That's him."
Page hit four 3-pointers to score a game-high 18 points for the Trojans, who led by more than 30 points to begin the fourth quarter. At the end of the third quarter Seamons brought the home crowd to its feet with his breakaway alley-oop courtesy of an off-the-backboard pass from Renck, who finished the game with 10 assists.
Longmont and Greeley Central will meet again in both team's regular-season finale on Feb. 13 at Greeley Central. Set to begin the second turn through the Northern League schedule, the Trojans will be back in action at Thompson Valley on Tuesday night.
Longmont 78, Greeley Central 38
At Longmont H.S.
GREELEY CENTRAL (11-5, 4-3)
Conway 3 0-0 6, Hayslip 4 7-11 15, Blackburn 0 0-0 0, Kingsford 1 0-1 2, Knox 3 0-2 7, Hernandez 0 0-0 0, Arrendondo 3 0-0 8, Munguia 0 0-0 0, Ndayishimiye 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 7-14 38.
LONGMONT (16-0, 7-0)
Schneider 4 1-1 10, Yazzie 0 0-0 0, Derksen 1 2-3 4, Renck 5 2-4 12, Elkins 3 2-2 8, Dye 1 0-0 2, Dehning 2 2-4 7, Rulon 0 2-2 2, Sprecher 1 0-0 2, Page 4 6-7 18, Seamons 5 3-6 13. Totals 26 20-29 78.
Score by quarters:Greeley Central 6 11 13 8 — 38
3-point field goals — Greeley Central (3): Arrendondo 2, Knox; Longmont (6): Page 4, Dehning, Schneider. Total fouls — Greeley Central 24, Longmont 17. Fouled out — Arrendondo.