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Silver Creek's Jordan Carter (left) and Teagan Knechtel give the Raptors one of the toughest inside tandems in the Northern League.
Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call
Silver Creek’s Jordan Carter (left) and Teagan Knechtel give the Raptors one of the toughest inside tandems in the Northern League.

 

LONGMONT — With four players listed as 6-foot-2 or taller, the Silver Creek High girls basketball team has one of the most imposing inside presence of any team in Class 4A. Given their height advantage, it’s no surprise the Raptors plan to do most of their dirty work in the post.

What may catch a few teams off guard this season is how effective the Raptors can be when they get the ball to their forwards, who bring a lot more to the table than just scary numbers on pre-game handouts. Early in the season, the dynamic duo of Jordan Carter and Teagan Knechtel has been giving opposing teams all they can handle.

“Since we’re so tall and we have good chemistry, we just start looking for each other,” Carter said. “If one of us is having an off game, the other is really able to pick it up and help carry the team. When we do get it inside, I feel like Teagan and I do a good job of creating opportunities for one another. We can both play in the high and low post and set up plays with pick and roll and things like that.”

Carter, a 6-foot-2 junior who can pop out a shoot from the wing, is averaging 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Knechtel, a 6-foot-2 senior with versatile post moves, is averaging 12.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. Both Carter (2.1 steals, 2.1 blocks) and Knechtel (2.4 steals, 2.0 blocks) have made an early impact on the defensive end as well.

While Carter averaged 9.7 points per game last season, it has been Knechtel developing her offensive game that has helped create the Raptors’ varied inside attack.

“It’s just a confidence thing,” Knechtel said. “I was a little shy with shooting last year because the seniors then would get the ball and shoot it. But as a senior this year I was given the responsibility of being a captain and a scorer so I have to shoot the ball since people have put their trust in me to shoot.”

To back up Carter and Knechtel, Raptors head coach Dan Kloster said he is comfortable playing sophomore Violet Kennedy or junior Danielle Berning in the post. On a team that has been led by talented guards for the past several seasons, Kloster said the influx of height has been an interesting change.

But as well as Carter and Knechtel have played thus far, the Raptors (4-3) are still trying to put it all together. With 4A Northern League play starting, the Raptors know they’ll need more than a pair of double-double threats in the post to compete for a league title.

“This is more height than we’ve ever had and right now we’re running our offense really well and it’s geared around taking advantage of our size,” Kloster said. “After a while, people might start packing in and we’ll have to learn to shoot from the outside and get better against the press.”

The Raptors finished 11-4 against Northern League competition last season and ended as the runner-up to Broomfield for the conference title. They advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 4A state tournament last season and made the playoffs in 2013 and 2012.

Expecting a similar run in 2015, the Raptors believe they are putting the pieces in place to get it done.

“I think we definitely have the ability to be league champions,” Knechtel said. “I think we could also do well in the postseason, which would be really nice since last year we made it to the Sweet 16. We’ve set a goal of making it to the Great Eight but we definitely need to take every game as it comes and focus on the league first. We’ve set our goals high and we’re working hard in practice. We just need to put it all together.”

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