LAFAYETTE — Saturday night's game between the Mead and Erie boys basketball teams for third place in the Boulder Valley Invitational wasn't the best game either team will play this season.
But it was the Mead Mavericks who cleaned up their play first and that was the difference. Following a messy first half, the Mavericks nearly doubled the Tigers' score in the third quarter to pull away for a 48-37 victory and close out the tournament with a win.
"We executed our plays a lot better in the second half," Mavericks junior guard Michael Ward said. "In the first half, we couldn't execute our plays against their 2-3 or their 3-2 and we couldn't find open spots. We talked about executing our plays at halftime and we made some good adjustments."
Against Erie (1-5), the Mavericks were without forwards Alex Sandstrom and Van Lindemann and found themselves outsized in the paint against an Erie front line led by 6-foot-8 Cameron McCurry. After hitting their first two shots of the game, the Tigers struggled to find the basket in the first half but still had a one-point lead on the Mavericks with 1 minute, 30 seconds left before halftime.
Mead led 21-20 at the break.
"I'm not sure why we were so far from being fundamental in the first half but the second half was much better," Mavericks head coach Darin Reese said. "We did better against their zone and moved the ball better inside out."
Paced by seven third-quarter points from Ward and six from teammate Walker Korell, the Mavericks outscored the Tigers 16-9 in the third quarter to lead comfortably to begin the fourth. Ward finished Saturday's third-place game with four of the Mavericks' eight 3-pointers.
While Saturday's win to claim third was a positive, Ward said the Mavericks (3-2) were still disappointed they lost to Thomas Jefferson (3-2) on Friday. That loss and a season-opening loss to top-ranked Longmont (3-0) stand as the Mavericks' two blemishes so far. Mead will play at 10th-ranked Green Mountain on Tuesday and will finish out next week at the Pueblo East Coaches Classic before the holiday break.
"We can play with the best of the best but we need to come out every night and show that so that we can remain contenders," Ward said.
Senior shooting guard Alex Mathis led Erie with nine points, all of which came from behind the 3-point line. Erie will play at Fort Morgan (1-3) on Tuesday and host Niwot (1-4) on Friday.
Mead 48, Erie 37
At Centaurus H.S.
Cheung 0 0-0 0, Maher 4 0-0 9, Cloke 1 0-1 3, Ward 10 0-1 24, Korell 4 2-2 10, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Rice 0 0-0 0, Harrell 0 0-1 0. Totals 20 2-5 48.
Allen 1 1-3 3, Boyle 1 0-0 3, Bohn 0 2-2 2, Schenbeck 2 0-0 6, Santistevan 0 2-3 2, Mathis 3 0-0 9, Prowell 0 0-1 0, Campbell 0 4-6 4, Anderson 0 1-2 1, McCurry 3 1-2 7. Totals 10 11-19 37.
Score by quarters:Mead (3-2) 12 9 16 11 — 48
Erie (1-5) 9 11 9 8 — 37
3-point field goals — Mead (6): Ward 4, Cloke, Maher. Total fouls — Mead 17. Fouled out — Rice.