LONGMONT — A one-handed dunk by Longmont senior Keegan Patterson sent a packed-out Silver Creek gymnasium into frenzy Friday night. With winter high school basketball officially transitioning into league play, call it a loud reminder that this is time of year the Trojans usually flex their muscles.
Patterson finished with 13 points, Cole Corner added 12, and Longmont built a big lead and held on tight in beating the Raptors 56-49 to kick off play in the 5A/4A Northern League.
“We pride ourselves in conference,” said Patterson of the Trojans, who have finished first or tied for first in league all but once since 2014. “We probably have the best coaching staff in the state. We got coach (Jeff) Kloster. He’s approaching 500 wins in his career. He really emphasizes once conference play starts, we’re 0-0.”
In the second half, the Trojans (8-3, 1-0) put some distance on the Raptors on the strength of a 14-0 run that spanned 3 minutes, 25 seconds. Corner followed up his 3 with a feathery-soft finger roll to push the lead into double digits. Patterson and Brendan Barcewski each added four more during it as the lead pushed to 42-26 by early in the fourth.
Back came Silver Creek (7-2, 0-1). Eli Hubert had all seven of his points in the final frame while Andrew Scott had six of his 13. The Raptors closed within three twice in the final minutes. Yet trailing just 47-44, Corner hit a 3 to put the Trojans back up by six and Longmont made six free throws in the final 1:08 to seal things.
“It was a blast,” Patterson said. “We’ve been looking forward to that one for a while now. We had a lot of guys who stepped up big time in a loud environment.”
Earlier, Longmont led by as many as nine in the opening half as Alan Higganbotham scored five straight for the Trojans to go ahead 24-15. Tanner Call replied with four straight to end the half, cutting the deficit to 24-19.
The win was Longmont’s seventh in the past eight meetings against Silver Creek.
“Every night (in this league) you got to come ready to play,” Kloster said. “There’s not going to be a night that you can say, OK we can take this one off, we can relax. On any given night, any team could beat another team.”
Silver Creek girls use big second half to beat Longmont
Dealing with some cramping muscles following an emotional win over Longmont, Silver Creek senior Mackenzie Larson hid it well.
All smiles here, thanks a three-game losing streak to its crosstown rival now gone.
“I think we all came together for a sole purpose of playing with our heart for each other,” Larson said. “And that obviously is the reason we beat that team because we were evenly matched skill-wise.”
April Conilogue scored 17, Taylor Mallett added 12 and the Raptors pulled away from the Trojans in the second half in winning 42-28 to open league play.
Tied at 23 midway through the third quarter, Larson scored five straight as part of an 11-0 burst that stretched for nearly eight minutes to put Silver Creek (5-4, 1-0) in command, up 34-23. Mallett added six more in the final minutes to seal things.
Christine D’Epagnier led Longmont (3-7, 0-1) with 11 points. The Trojans started the season with six straight losses before going on a three-game winning streak into the winter break.
Both teams were playing their first game in nearly three weeks.
The girls and boys teams from Silver Creek are at Mead Wednesday, while Longmont’s duo is at home against Greeley West.