LONGMONT — There's no confusion among coaches and players about the rebuilding stage the Silver Creek girls basketball team is currently undergoing. First-year coach Ashlee Viveros appears to have her team bought in on the big picture.
During a 46-33 loss to Northridge on Tuesday night at home, Viveros, hired to become the Raptors third coach in three years in the offseason, kept the tone positive from the sideline as her focus remains on effort and growth over immediate results.
Viveros comes in for a program that had five winning seasons in longtime coach Dan Kloster's final six seasons before the team went 4-19 last year under Barry Litt. Viveros' previous stop was a lengthy stint at Killdeer High School in North Dakota, where she built the program up and finished runner-up in state last season.
Now, time is needed at Silver Creek. Trust the process, she says.
"We have a lot of skill-building to do," Viveros said. "Skill-building isn't something that happens over one season. It's things that happen summer after summer consistently where girls are building the skills and confidence to execute those skills in the game. It's not something that's going to happen over the course of a season or the course of one year. It's summer and hours put in the gym and the weight room consistently when you're going to see those results."
That means players like senior Erin Jensen may be gone before the Raptors have a chance to take the necessary steps forward to compete for a postseason berth or a title. Viveros, though, has done a good job showing her upperclassmen the importance of their role in the grander scheme. Seniors like Jensen have embraced it.
"I've talked to the seniors about it and I was telling them how it felt when we won our regional championship (last year at Killdeer), and going up to these players that I coached in the years past — they were in college or whatever — and just hugging them and reminding them of that they were part of the process," Viveros said. "I allowed this team to make their mission for the year and their mission is making a legacy for the future."
On Tuesday, Jensen paced Silver Creek (3-10, 1-3 4A Northern) with 11 of her team's 15 points in the opening half and tied her season-high with 15 points. No other player on the Raptors roster finished with double-digit points.
In a game where offenses found more rim than net, Jensen kept her team in the game for a while with a strong presence under the hoop and enough aggression to get to the line, going 5 of 8 on the night. It just wasn't enough.
Northridge (5-8, 3-1) created separation in the second half on the strength of a 7-1 run that featured two 3-point-play chances. Anahi Salazar hit a layup in traffic but missed her free throw before Annie Cubbon completed her hoop-and-harm moments later to give the Grizzlies a 26-16 lead.
Silver Creek could only get as close as eight in the fourth as Northridge won for the third time in four games. The Raptors suffered their third straight loss.
"We aren't too worried about our record," Jensen said. "We're working on rebuilding our program because it hasn't been the greatest. We're trying to leave the people around us and the fans in the stadium knowing we're a family and we're really building this legacy for younger generations."
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and at @brentwnew
Northridge 46, Silver Creek 33
At Silver Creek HS
NORTHRIDGE (5-8, 3-1)
Ramos 3 0-0 6, Poland 2 2-3 6, Inloes 0 0-0 0, Martinez 2 4-4 8, Pigati 3 0-0 7, Higgins Camacho 0 0-0 0, Pratz 2 2-4 6, Shaffer 0 0-0 0, Salazar 1 0-1 2, Cubbon 2 1-5 5, Wood 1 0-0 3, Cone 0 3-4 3.
SILVER CREEK (3-10, 1-3)
Canvasser 0 0-0 0, Larson 1 1-4 4, Brubaker 0 0-0 0, Tyrrell 2 1-2 5, Trujillo 0 0-0 0, Lovell 0 0-0 0, McCaffrey 3 0-0 6, VanLeeuwen 0 0-0 0, Jensen 5 5-8 15, Becvar 0 1-2 1, Hawley 0 0-0 0, Shaw 0 0-0 0, Scott 1 0-1 2.
Score by quarters:Northridge 7 12 11 16 — 46
3-point field goals — Northridge (2): Pigati, Wood; Silver Creek (1): Larson. Total fouls — Northridge 18, Silver Creek 18. Fouled out — Becvar. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.