Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
It feels to Trent Dykema and Luke Johnson like it was just yesterday that they spent their middle school summer afternoons filming videos of one another dunking on a lowered basketball hoop in Dykema’s cul-de-sac.
Now it feels like forever and a day until the two can complete a highly-anticipated, full-circle moment in their friendship and basketball careers.
Dykema and Johnson are seniors in high school and the best players on their respective teams. The thing is, Dykema goes to Silver Creek and Johnson goes to Longmont, and Silver Creek and Longmont are bitter cross-town rivals in all things athletics. On Thursday, the two childhood friends and longtime club teammates will lead their teams onto the court for what will likely be the final time they play against one another head-to-head.
It will be a huge rivalry game that should decide the Northern League champion. But for Dykema and Johnson, it will be much more than that.
“You always look forward to the rivalry game against Silver Creek,” Johnson said. “Then you add on that some of your best friends are on the other team. It being the last time Trent and I will face each other, you really want to make it special. The last time we played, it was a great game and I think we’re ready to put on a show one more time.”
The last time the Longmont Trojans (17-1, 11-0 Northern) and Silver Creek Raptors (16-3, 8-2 Northern) played, the Trojans won 66-64. In that game, Dykema, a shooting guard, scored 22 points and Johnson, a point guard, scored 26. Neither player has slowed down since, with Johnson averaging 19.5 points and 3.5 assists for the Trojans, who are currently ranked third in Class 4A, and Dykema averaging 24.1 points and 7.9 rebounds for the seventh-ranked Raptors.
Since becoming friends immediately as sixth-graders at Altona Middle School because of their shared love for sports, Johnson and Dykema have been living out their early childhood dream of playing high school basketball for two of the top programs in the state.
“In middle school, we would go the high school games and see the teams,” Dykema said. “We would always dream about what it was going to be like playing in high school and going against each other. It’s great that we’re both thriving in our situations and it’s really fun because we know each other’s moves and how we play so well. We always talk about how we’re going to shut each other down, but once the game starts, we’re all about helping our teams win.”
Of course, both Dykema and Johnson tried to convince the other to attend his chosen high school so they could play together. But Dykema lives close by to Silver Creek and Johnson was determined from a young age to attend Longmont, where his older sister Abby Johnson went. They still play together for the Colorado Titans club organization and work out together in the offseason, and have played together on a number of club teams growing up.
While Dykema can boast that he is 2-1 against Johnson since they’ve both been full-time starters for their high school teams, he has Johnson to thank for turning him on to basketball in the first place. Dykema had never played organized basketball until he met Johnson and current Silver Creek teammate Christian Warner in middle school.
“I was more into basketball when we met and he was pretty raw,” Johnson said. “I like to joke with him that I taught him everything he knows now.”
Dykema certainly isn’t raw anymore and has been a varsity player since his freshman year at Silver Creek. Johnson swung up from junior varsity as a freshman and got into one of the games long enough for the two to guard each other. They’ve been making life difficult for each other’s teams ever since.
“It’s a lot of fun because we always work out together every day during the offseason,” Dykema said. “We’re always talking trash. But when it comes to game time, the friendship’s not really there and we’re trying to attack each other. All the talking we do before the games makes it extra fun.”
While Johnson and Dykema’s is the most notable friendship that permeates the Longmont and Silver Creek rivalry, there are plenty of others. Silver Creek’s Trevor Riters and Ashton Hubert, and Longmont’s Caden Dion, all grew up playing together for various club teams. All of those friendships, however, will have to be put on hold for a night when the Raptors and Trojans square off on Thursday at Longmont High.
“They’re rolling right now and we’re looking good so it’s going to be intense,” Dykema said. “We’re both just going to play our hardest and see how it ends up. It’s different playing against people you know because you know how they play and know their personalities. It makes it more intense because of the rivalry on top of it but also more fun at the same time because you’re putting your pride on the line a little bit more than when you’re playing people you don’t know. It makes losing tougher, for sure. “
Thursday’s game will start at 6:30 p.m.