LAFAYETTE — The spot-up was spot on.
For a kid who does not live at the perimeter, Josh Tarin’s 3-point attempt in the waning seconds of Tuesday night’s Northern League opener for Silver Creek was a thing of beauty. So was the drive down the court from Eric Machmuller that preceded it.
A lot of game-winning plays come down to a little luck, but Silver Creek’s winning formula against Centaurus in a 41-40 victory at the CHS gym was a swift ending to a contest in which both offenses struggled.
When all the dust had settled, the Raptors had a much-coveted leg up in the league.”We’re definitely going to review this film and talk about all the little things tomorrow,” Tarin said. “We definitely still have a lot to learn.
“Starting off the conference right, though, it just gives us a boost for Broomfield in our next game. We’re amped now, so now it’s just about getting ready for Broomfield.”
And if they need a game-winning play, they might just have one in their back pocket for future use.
Coming out of a timeout and needing the go the length of the floor with 11 seconds left and Centaurus up 40-38, Tarin weaved his way out to the wing while Machmuller burst through the Warriors’ full-court defense on the other end. Machmuller, without hesitation, drove the lane and kicked out when he also had a good look at a layup, and Tarin put up a smooth-as-silk jumper to make Machmuller’s decision that much wiser.
“They made one (3-pointer) the entire game, and unfortunately it’s the one right at the end there,” said Centaurus coach Brandon Gullicksrud, whose team dropped to 4-6 despite 17 points from Steven Lopez. “Tonight, we were horrendous offensively in terms of our shooting percentage but on the glass and defense-wise and intensity-wise, I was happy with the effort.”
Both coaches could argue their team’s shooting woes were cringe-worthy.
Silver Creek (4-3) shot 18 for 46 from the floor, while Centaurus went 15 for 42. Both teams drastically improved that percentage in the second half, too.
But the intensity was palpable on both sides, which resulted in a tight affair that heated up in the final 3:06. Silver Creek was up 32-29 at the time, but Lopez cashed in a 3-pointer to tie the score back up. Machmuller hit a long jumper to follow, only to see Trey Puckett and Kyle Taudien hit buckets to put CHS up 36-34 with 1:43 left.
Jackson Engles hit two shots for Silver Creek sandwiching a Derek French bucket for the Warriors, and Puckett was fouled with just 11 seconds left — hitting his free throws to give Centaurus a pretty good position in its bid to get to .500.
“We made a substitution (after the free throws) to be able to set our defense and we went soft full court, not allowing anything over the top,” Gullicksrud said. “Machmuller is an incredible athlete and he just got a head of steam.”
After the quick turnaround from Machmuller, Tarin hit just his fifth 3-ball of the season with less than 3 seconds left — on his 14th attempt of the year — to finish with 11 points. Engles added nine points, and Machmuller six for SCHS.
“Coach (Bob Banning) said during our time out that we needed a “War Daddy” and that means someone was going to step up … I knew I’d be open for the three, and it felt good,” said Tarin, who also had nine rebounds.
“We knew it wouldn’t be an easy task,” Banning said. “After the break, everyone is a little rusty. I thought both teams came out with a lot of intensity, though, so we really feel good coming out of this one with a win.”
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SILVER CREEK 41, CENTAURUS 40
At Centaurus HS
SILVER CREEK (4-3, 1-0)
Zane Lindsey 1 0-0 2, Eric Machmuller 3 0-0 6, Nico Rembert 1 0-0 2, Josh Tarin 4 2-2 11, Jackson Engles 4 1-2 9, Austin Hartman 2 1-1 5, Ben Sjobakken 1 0-0 2, Francisco Echevarria 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 4-5 41.
CENTAURUS (4-6, 0-1)
Trey Puckett 2 2-4 7, Kyle Taudien 3 0-4 6, Jose Aguirre 1 0-0 2, Steven Lopez 5 4-4 17, Derek French 2 0-0 4, Mike DeVries 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 6-12 40.
Score by quarters:
Silver Creek 9 6 8 18 — 41
Centaurus 7 6 12 15 — 40
3-point field goals — Silver Creek (1): Tarin; Centaurus (4): Lopez 3, Puckett. Fouled out — Rembert.