LONGMONT — It hasn’t been all peaches and cream for the Silver Creek boys basketball players in 2013-14.
The Raptors fought hard for each and every win they claimed over the course of the up-and-down regular season just to make the playoffs. Scraping to finish above .500 and hosting a first-round 4A state tournament game, the Raptors made it look easy against Fort Morgan on Wednesday night.
Playing what several players agreed was one of their best team games in front of a white-out home crowd, the seventh-seeded Raptors defeated the 10th-seeded Fort Morgan Mustangs 80-54.
“These last two games we’ve played against Longmont and Fort Morgan are the two best games we’ve played as a team,” Raptors senior guard Zane Lindsey said. “We’ve had games where individual guys had good games but we were all in it tonight.”
The Raptors (13-11) ended the regular season with a win over ninth-seeded Mountain View and the team’s first win over third-seeded rival Longmont in six years. They rode that regular-season momentum into a dominating postseason performance against the Mustangs (14-10).
With four players posting double-figures in points, the Raptors recorded 19 assists, including eight from Lindsey. Senior guard Nico Rembert led all scorers with 17 points, junior Jackson Engles scored 13, Lindsey had 11 and senior Josh Tarin finished with 10.
Defensively, the Raptors forced 19 turnovers and senior guard Eric Machmuller had four of their total 12 steals. Also led by Machmuller’s six boards, the Raptors outrebounded the Mustangs 32-21.
Rembert said the Raptors won handily because they focused their effort on stopping the ball, securing possession and passing quickly both on the fast break and in the half court.
“We really intensified on defense then we got out on the break and that hurt them,” said Rembert, who caught fire for 12 second-half points. “We knew that we were the better team and we just made a statement. The most important thing was getting a good start because we had to show our presence on the court early. That slowed them down and it showed late in the game.”
Never trailing, the Raptors raced out to an early lead and widened that advantage steadily by the end of each quarter. They led by 16 points to start the fourth and sealed a second-round berth by outscoring the Mustangs 25-15 in the fourth quarter.
“Obviously, it’s a playoff game so we were really motivated going into it,” Engles said. “They’re a good team but we just decided we didn’t want out season to end tonight and we want to go against Cheyenne Mountain on Friday. Without a doubt, we’ve had our struggles this year but it feels great to be getting rolling and be playing the way that we knew we could play from the beginning.”
The Raptors held Mustangs scoring leaders Eric Kembel (13.3 points per game) and Tony Zwetzig (10.3) to 17 combined points. Joey Schneider and Wes Anderson each scored 10 points for the Mustangs.
The Raptors will travel to face second-seeded Cheyenne Mountain (18-5) at Cheyenne Mountain High School on Friday. The game will begin at 6 p.m.
Follow BoCoPreps.com Writer Brad Cochi on Twitter: @BradCochi
Silver Creek 80, Fort Morgan 54
At Silver Creek H.S.
FORT MORGAN (14-10)
Bauer 2 0-0 6, Walio 1 0-1 2, Zwetzig 3 0-0 8, Pollitt 0 0-0 0, Gertner 0 0-0 0, T. Kembel 0 3-4 3, Ocanas 0 0-3 0, Almanza 0 0-0 0, Schneider 4 2-3 10, Anderson 5 0-0 10, E. Kembel 3 1-4 9, Weimer 1 4-5 6. Totals 17 10-20 54.
SILVER CREEK (13-11)
Lindsey 5 0-0 11, Kasper 0 0-0 0, Machmuller 1 2-2 4, Rembert 5 5-7 17, Tarin 5 0-0 10, Engles 5 2-2 13, Hartman 3 2-4 8, Campbell 2 0-2 5, Echevarria 3 0-0 6, A. Rapp 0 0-0 0, C. Rapp 0 2-4 2. Totals 31 13-21 80.
Score by quarters:
Fort Morgan 12 12 15 15 — 54
Silver Creek 17 19 19 25 — 80
3-point field goals — Fort Morgan (6): Bauer 2, Zwetzig 2, E. Kembel; Silver Creek (4): Rembert 2, Lindsey, Engles. Total fouls — Fort Morgan 15, Silver Creek 16.