Rooney: Hoopsters from Mead, Silver Creek ready for Pepsi Center stage

Silver Creek athletic director Marty Tonjes was determined to give the Raptors’ boys basketball team a chance to enjoy the opportunity offered by the Denver Nuggets organization that allows high school games to be played on the Pepsi Center floor before the Nuggets take on one of their NBA foes.

In this spirit, Tonjes emailed each and every one of his contemporaries in the Northern League, as well as the athletic directors from the schools on Silver Creek’s non-league slate, at the beginning of the season in hopes of finding a partner in the endeavor.

Tonjes was thrilled when Frank Buck and Darin Reese, the AD and boys basketball coach, respectively, at Mead, responded almost immediately with nothing but enthusiasm for the idea.

On Wednesday afternoon all that planning and hard work will come to fruition, as the Raptors and Mead will collide on the Pepsi Center floor at 3 p.m.

“I did this when I was coaching at Horizon,” Tonjes said. “It was great that Darin and Frank got back to me almost immediately saying they wanted to do this. It’s really a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the kids.”

Working in conjunction with the Nuggets, the high school teams are tasked with selling tickets as a means of both generating interest in the game while raising funds for their respective programs. Silver Creek and Mead will enjoy other amenities besides simply getting to play on the NBA floor, from dressing in the pro locker rooms to remaining in the building as the host Nuggets take on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Silver Creek junior Kaari VonBernuth, a member of the Raptors girls soccer team and a manager for the boys basketball squad, will sing the national anthem. And finally, an MVP will be chosen from both the junior varsity game (1:15 p.m. tip) and varsity game who will be honored together during halftime of the Nuggets game.

While Silver Creek would have leapt at the opportunity no matter who responded to Tonjes’ initial queries, the Raptors’ AD is grateful another Longmont-area school will share the spotlight.

“That’s really what I was hoping for,” Tonjes said. “We want to show what we’re about as a community.”

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