LONGMONT — Recent game scores might indicate the Mead boys basketball team lost a little bit of their swagger when they fell in lopsided fashion to Tri-Valley League counterpart Holy Family a couple weeks ago.
Don't tell that to Mavericks senior Michael Ward.
To him, the common denominator in every game since has been he and his teammates doing what it takes to get the victory, as was the case Tuesday night in a 55-53 win against Erie that appeared at times more like a street-ball skirmish than anything.
Ward had 16 points to lead the Mavericks past upset-minded Erie and move to 15-3 on the season — their third league win since the setback against Holy Family.
"We just know every night that everyone is going to give us their best shot and that we had better come out battling," Ward said after coming alive in the second half to pace MHS in scoring. "Tonight might have been a little closer than we we wanted it to be, but we battled and got the win.
"(The loss to Holy Family) is long gone, and we flushed that out the next practice we had. We were relaxed and focused in the end, because we knew we could just battle and get it done."
After beating Roosevelt (2-7 in the TVL) by just 10 points late last week, Mead appeared at times Tuesday like it was going to pull away from Erie (9-9, 5-4 TVL) in their second meeting of the year.
But Erie's Cameron McCurry (19 second half points) wouldn't have it, and some of his teammates helped mount a furious rally at the beginning of the fourth quarter that punched Mead in the gut, albeit temporarily.
Down nine points at 43-34 entering the fourth frame, Erie got hot while Mead went through a rash of missed shots and one-and-done's, and a sparkling 12-0 run from EHS gave the visitors a 46-43 lead with about 5 minutes, 40 seconds to go in the game.
Over the next 4:30 there were three ties and four lead changes, and Erie held serve with possession and the game tied at 52-52 and 1:09 to play. But Mead's Alex Sandstrom was able to draw a charge, and the Mavericks took the time all the way down to 35 seconds before Cameron Cheung fed Sandstrom for a layup that proved to be the game-winner.
Sandstrom finished with 13 points, while Derek Edwards and Daniel Cloke added eight apiece for Mead, which plays at Frederick on Friday.
"Derek is great for us off the bench and he brings energy, and Daniel is just a big kid who can get rebounds and get us second chances," Ward said. "It's always good to have those guys in there."
McCurry finished with 25 for Erie, who will next play at Roosevelt.
Mead 55, Erie 53
At Mead HS
ERIE (9-9, 5-4)
Larson 0 0-0 0 , Tyson 4 0-0 10, Black 0 0-0 0, Loy 3 0-0 6, Farineau 0 0-0 0, Lucero 0 0-2 0, Roper 3 0-0 6, Mathis 1 0-0 3, Campbell 1 0-0 3, McCurry 6 13-16 25. Totals 18 13-18 53.
MEAD (15-3, 8-1)
Cheung 1 1-2 3, Brin 0 0-0 0, Wilke 0 1-2 1, Ward 5 5-6 16, Lee 1 0-0 2, Edwards 3 0-0 8, Sandstrom 4 5-6 13, Rice 1 2-2 4, Cloke 3 1-2 8. Totals 18 15-20 55.
Score by quarters:Erie 15 2 17 19 — 53
Mead 15 7 21 12 — 55
3-point field goals — Erie (4): Tyson 2, Mathis, Campbell; Mead (4): Edwards 2, Ward, Cloke. Fouled out — Campbell.