The No. 2 ranked Longmont Trojans defeated the Silver Creek Raptors 59-41 behind its defense to remain undefeated this season and to extend their current win streak to 23 games dating back to last year's run to the state title.
The Trojans have embraced the role of being the hunted and have lived up to the expectations that come with it so far.
"We love it, that's what makes us better," Longmont's Brady Renck said. "We know if they bring their best, we have to bring our best as well. It's going to show on the scoreboard, and I think we've earned it all this year. We've had that target on our back, but we're going to continue going out there and playing our best."
Head coach Jeff Kloster has stressed defense with the team this year if they are to get back to the state title game in March. Since a slightly slow start on that end out of the gate, the Trojans have stepped it up and have held their opponents below their season averages.
That trend continued against a Silver Creek team looking to make Wednesday's game a shootout with their offense.
The Raptors were averaging 57 points per game and had three players averaging double figures on the season entering Tuesday. They would get 16 points from Charlie Belcher and 15 from Andrew Duquette, both of whom had to work for their points, but the rest of the team was held to 12 points and the team shot below their average of 40 percent from the field.
"Our main goal is to play our best defense possible," Renck said. "We knew they had a couple of good shooters, so we were going to try to make those shots tough. If they hit them, that was fine, but we trusted ourselves to make them take bad looks and capitalize off of them."
Silver Creek would stay within striking distance in the first half and trailed 27-17 going into the break. From there, it was a collective effort from the Trojans to start pulling away. Nine different players scored, five of whom with at least eight points. Beck Page worked inside and at the foul line to lead the Trojans with 17 while Renck followed with 10.
"Whoever is open takes the shot," Renck said. "We live with it. That's who we have been this whole year."
Five games remain for the Trojans to complete an undefeated regular season, but the team's main focus is on making a trip to the Denver Coliseum for another shot at the state title.
"We have to tone down and make defense our priority," Renck said. "We know some nights we're not going to shoot the ball as well, like we did tonight. But if we hold a team to 35 or 40 points, it won't matter how bad we are shooting."
Longmont 59, Silver Creek 41
At Longmont High School
SILVER CREEK (8-10, 2-7)
Charlie Belcher 5 2-2 16, Andrew Duquette 6 0-0 15, Nick Eaton 2 2-2 6, Spencer Rich 0 2-2 2, Trevor Ordway 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 8-8 41.
Longmont (18-0, 9-0)
Beck Page 6 4-4 17, Brady Renck 4 2-2 10, Dallas Dye 1 6-8 8, Oakley Dehning 3 2-3 8, Calvin Seamons 3 2-2 8, Jaydon Elkins 2 0-2 4, Ryan Schneider 1 0-0 2, Grant Rulon 0 1-2 1, Matt Spreecher 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 16-25 59.
Score by quarters:Silver Creek (8-10, 2-7) 4 13 8 16 — 41Longmont (18-0, 9-0) 11 16 15 17 — 59
3-point field goals — Silver Creek(7): Belcher 4, Duquette 3; Longmont(1): Page. Total fouls — Silver Creek 21, Longmont 12. Fouled out — Eaton.