LONGMONT — The Silver Creek girls basketball team has been playing the waiting game for some time now. While it appeared that wait would end on Tuesday night, the wait continues.
The Silver Creek players have little to complain about since they can count the number of losses they’ve suffered this season on one hand. Still, the Raptors had been waiting for a chance at revenge against Thompson Valley for over three weeks since the Eagles dealt them their lone conference defeat on Jan. 23. For what exacting that revenge meant in the big picture — the program’s first outright conference title — they have been waiting much longer.
They will have to wait even longer now, as on Tuesday night at Silver Creek High School, the host Raptors let a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 56-54 loss to Thompson Valley.
“We had some good stretches but in the fourth-quarter I think we looked like a team playing not to lose rather than playing to win,” Silver Creek coach Dan Kloster said. “We became afraid to make mistakes and afraid to attack the basket. There’s never been an outright conference title at Silver Creek and we let it slip away tonight.”
Silver Creek (17-5, 11-2 Northern) has finished top four in the Northern League each of the three seasons prior to this one but has not won a conference title. Last year, the Raptors were runners-up to Broomfield. In 2008, Silver Creek shared the conference title with Broomfield and later lost to Broomfield 50-34 in the 4A state championship game.
Silver Creek will still have a shot at an outright conference title when it wraps up the regular season against rival Longmont (16-6, 10-3 Northern) at home on Thursday (5 p.m.). Silver Creek defeated Longmont 53-35, though the game was tied at halftime, in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 27. A loss on Thursday would create a three-way tie between Silver Creek, Longmont and Thompson Valley (12-10, 10-3 Northern) atop the conference standings.
With sophomore Kayla Noble scoring 12 of her team-high 14 points in the first half, Silver Creek led 33-26 at the midway break on Tuesday. The Raptors led by as many as 13 points and as few as five points in the third quarter.
Silver Creek started the fourth quarter with a nine-point advantage but Thompson Valley’s Aliciya Nava hit a 3-pointer, one of her team’s six in the game, to cut the lead to two with 3 minutes, 16 seconds left. Two made free-throws by Katie Brouillard tied the game 52-52 with 2:18 remaining.
Nava made a layup to give Thompson Valley its first lead of the game with 1:30 remaining. Silver Creek had possessions to tie the game with 45 seconds left and with 22 seconds left and turned the ball over both times.
“They’ve got our number and that’s frustrating,” Kloster said. “But we threw the ball away several times when it was close at the end and you just can’t shoot less than 50 percent at the free-throw line. You can’t do that. They wanted it and we didn’t act like we did.”
Silver Creek held Thompson Valley’s leading scorer Maddy Dickens (14.9 ppg) to 10 points. But Nava hit four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 21 points.
Teagan Knechtel scored 13 points for Silver Creek and Mikayla Litt added nine. The Raptors made just eight of their 16 free-throw attempts.
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Thompson Valley 56, Silver Creek 54
At Silver Creek HS
THOMPSON VALLEY (12-10, 10-3)
Aliciya Nava 7 3-4 21, Josi Briggs 1 1-3 3, Kelsi Schuetz 2 2-8 6, Maddy Dickens 4 2-3 10, Ashlen Mickelson 3 0-0 8, Katie Brouillard 1 6-6 8. Totals 18 14-24 54.
SILVER CREEK (17-5, 11-2)
Mikayla Litt 3 2-4 9, Erin Kloster 0 0-1 0, Heidi Stauss 3 0-0 7, Violet Kennedy 1 1-3 3, Jordan Carter 3 0-0 6, Teagan Knechtel 5 3-4 13, Miranda Salo 1 0-0 2, Danielle Berning 0 0-0 0, Jaymie Ackerman 0 0-0 0, Kayla Noble 6 2-4 14. Totals 21 8-16 54.
Score by quarters:
Thompson Valley 10 16 12 18 — 56
Silver Creek 18 15 14 7 — 54
3-point field goals — Thompson Valley (6): Nava 4, Mickelson 2; Silver Creek (2): Litt, Stauss. Total fouls — Thompson Valley 13, Silver Creek 18. Fouled out — Carter.