LONGMONT -- New to the 4A Tri-Valley Conference, the Mead girls basketball team is out to prove it belongs in 2013.
The newcomer Mavericks got off to a good start on Friday, beating Skyline 52-40 in their young school's first Class 4A conference game. After both teams' league opener, which followed the two-week holiday break, the Mavericks were pleased with their return.
"Gotta work off those mashed potatoes," Mavericks junior Mikayla Martinez said, rubbing her stomach. "We all knew this was our first league game and we had our minds set on it. We knew this was going to be our game if we came out to win."
With a first-ever Tri-Valley victory in mind, the junior post scored a team-high 15 points to lead a solid effort from the Mavericks' post attack. Despite some tough defense in the paint from Skyline, Mavericks post players Allison Majerus and Kasey McKrola also contributed with 11 and eight points, respectively.
The Mavericks held a narrow lead throughout much of the game. With a 41-36 edge to start the fourth quarter, the Mavericks held the Falcons to four points in the final frame to widen the lead.
Junior guard Marina Hanlon thought her Mavericks Tri-Valley debut might be delayed by an accelerated heartbeat. But the last-minute results of an echocardiogram cleared her to play.
"It was down to the last second," said Hanlon, who scored seven points. "It was a really big relief and I just wanted to go and have fun."
Mavericks head coach Michael Ward said the home team won despite not having its best night and going 10 deep on the bench.
After winning six straight games before the break, the Skyline girls basketball team couldn't find the same rugged, ramped-up effort that had them rolling into the holidays after opening the season 0-2.
"I think it was our defense. I don't know where it was tonight," Falcons junior guard Carissa Curtis said. "We were also pretty out of shape compared to last month. We went through our seven days of pain and then we took that break. That was an advantage we had over a lot of teams that we didn't have tonight."
The Falcons completed their rigorous "seven days of pain" training regime in mid-December, which they felt left them a step faster than most opponents. Normally spry and scrappy, Curtis said the Falcons faded in the fourth quarter. They also missed 12 free throws.
Curtis scored 10 of her game-high 16 points at the free-throw line and senior Deandra Elcock added 11 points for the Falcons.
The teams face each other again on Jan. 29 at Skyline.
"I think we'll do better when we get them at home," said Curtis, who graduates a year early after this school year. "We've just got to get our defense back the way it was."
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Mead 52, Skyline 40
At Mead HS
SKYLINE (6-3, 0-1)
Spencer 1 0-0 3, A. Curtis 0 2-2 2, Emanuel 1 0-2 2, David 0 0-0 0, Steed 1 1-4 3, Elcock 5 1-3 11, Barron 1 1-2 3, C. Curtis 3 10-14 16. Totals 13 15-27 40.
MEAD (5-4, 1-0)
Maher 2 0-0 4, Martinez 5 4-4 15, Daly 0 0-1 0, Reeves 0 0-0 0, Hanlon 2 2-2 7, Majerus 4 2-2 11, Lozinski 0 1-2 1, Ward 2 2-5 6, McKrola 3 2-2 8, Kalivas 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 13-18 52.
Score by quarters:
Skyline 11 13 12 4 -- 40
Mead 12 17 12 11 -- 52
3-point field goals -- Skyline (1): Spencer; Mead (3): Martinez, Hanlon, Majerus. Total fouls -- Skyline 17, Mead 23. Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None.