LONGMONT — The Mead boys basketball team could have easily fallen into the trap of looking past Skyline on Friday night, what with a Saturday home matchup against rival Longmont on tap.
After the Falcons showed some grit in the first quarter of their Tri-Valley League matchup, however, the Mavericks woke from their slumber, worked past some early inside misses and mastered more ball movement to pull away to a 68-50 victory on their home floor.
Mead (10-2, 4-0 league) shot close to 50 percent in each of the final three quarters and hit 10 3-pointers in the game by seven different players, and their inside work led to many of those perimeter shots being open looks.
"Our philosophy is always to play our game and do our stuff regardless of the situation and I felt like we bounced back (from the start)," said Michael Rice, a senior who knocked down two of those treys in the second quarter as Mead pulled away from a 13-13 game after one period. "It was a tough game and they were physical. But we came out on top by continuing our style of play."
"In the second half we played a little bit better on everything, just moved it better, shot it better and didn't settle as much," Mead head coach Darrin Reese said, his team right back at it against the Trojans at 5 p.m. "There were some frustrating moments and that was a style of game we haven't been in yet. I'm proud of our effort."
The Mavericks made just 4 of 14 field goals in the first quarter as Skyline (6-4, 1-3) didn't give up anything easy in the lane, and Demetrio Martinez sparked a bit of a rally for SHS late in the quarter to tie things up.
While Mead senior Michael Ward (20 points overall) started to impose his will a bit in the second quarter, Mead also out-rebounded Skyline 13-5 in the quarter to get some second chances — and the Mavericks capitalized overall on their shots with Rice, Ward and Anthony Brin all hitting from 3-point land to take a 31-20 lead at the half.
The beginning stretch of the third quarter was when Mead was at its best. Skyline's Brayden Blick — who finished with 13 — opened the third-quarter scoring with a second-chance bucket, but Mead then went on a 10-4 spurt over the next 3 minutes that included two fine passes down low to Ward from Alex Sandstrom, and 3-pointers from Cameron Cheung and Daniel Cloke that were kick-out passes from inside.
The lead grew to 17 points at 50-33 by the end of the third frame, and Skyline could not dig into that advantage in the fourth.
Cloke was the only other Mead player to finish in double-digits with 10 points. Cheung had nine, Rice eight and Sandstrom seven to lead MHS.
Skyline was led by Martinez with 16 points, while Blick had 13 and Nate Higgins finished with 12. Higgins, arguably Skyline's toughest player to guard, was held to just one point through three periods.
"Skyline has improved a lot and it was a tough game for sure," Rice said. "We came out ready to help on defense, ready to rotate and that's what we did."
Mead 68, Skyline 50
At Mead HS
SKYLINE (6-4, 1-3)
Smith 0 0-0 0, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Zietlow 0 0-0 0, D. Martinez 6 2-3 16, Blick 5 1-3 13, Higgins 3 6-12 12, C. Martinez 0 0-0 0, Zimbelman 0 0-0 0, Hall 1 0-0 3, Gutierrez 2 2-2 6, Robison 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 11-20 50.
MEAD (10-2, 4-0)
Cheung 3 1-3 9, Kastratovic 1 0-0 3, Brin 1 0-0 3, Ward 8 3-4 20, Lee 1 0-0 2, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Sandstrom 3 1-2 7, Rice 2 3-4 8, Maher 1 0-0 3, Cloke 3 2-2 10. Totals 24 10-15 68.
Score by quarters:Skyline 13 7 13 17 — 50
Mead 13 18 19 18 — 68
3-point field goals — Skyline (5): D. Martinez 2, Blick 2, Hall; Mead (10): Cheung 2, Kastratovic, Brin, Ward, Rice 2, Maher, Cloke 2. Technical fouls — Cheung, Ward.