BROOMFIELD — Holy Family sophomore Tanner Baird has had a propensity to take over games.
Just ask cross-town rival Broomfield, which he dropped 30 on earlier this season.
But through two and half quarters on Tuesday night, in arguably the biggest game of the season, nothing was dropping for Baird and the rest of the Tigers against Mead in a game that would decide the Tri-Valley League title.
Down 21-14 with just over five minute to play in the third quarter, the light finally came on for coach Pete Villecco's team. They went on a 19-5 from then to the 5:20 mark of the fourth quarter, that flipped a seven point deficit to a 35-26 lead and ultimately a 54-43 win.
"Our defensive rebounding, we did a lot better job of that in the second half and the ability to get out and run was huge," said Baird, who came of the bench on senior night and scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
"Coach was just telling us to keep our head in this and take care of the ball."
The win for the fifth-ranked team in Class 4A according to the latest CHSAANow. com poll propels them to an 18-4 overall record and a flawless 13-0 mark in the TVL, with one game to play on Friday night against Roosevelt. Mead, ranked No. 7, also sports an 18-4 overall mark and are 11-2 in league play.
The Mavericks, who were absolutely dominating the boards on both ends, had everything going their way in the first half and after starting the third quarter with a quick 5-0 burst appeared as though they might run away from the Tigers.
"I told the guys in the locker room that we probably should have been up more than we were at the half. We were really good defensively and gave them nothing," said Mavericks coach Darin Reece, whose standout Michael Ward was throwing up before the game. "We missed some open shots and missed some opportunities and then a couple of turnovers really helped them along with our missed free throws."
Baird was the key and his teammates did a good job of locating him when they realized he had the hot hand. At one point he scored eight straight points and helped the Tigers build their biggest lead of the night at 41-28.
"We both know a lot of guys on each other's teams and beating them twice this year is big for our confidence," Baird said. "We still have Roosevelt left, but after that we'll see what we have in store for the playoffs."
Joe Golter, who struggled to find his shooting touch through the first three quarters, hit a big 3-pointer down the stretch and finished with 10 points. Cameron Miller had nine and Tanner Price finished with seven.
Ward was the only Mead player to hit double digits, finishing with 17 points.
"(The postseason) is really what we are focused on and what we've built our practices and our schedule for," said Reece, whose team finishes the regular season at home against Berthoud on Friday night. "We've only lost to really good teams. We've played a tough schedule and I think we'll be ready to go next week."
HOLY FAMILY 54, MEAD 43
At Holy Family
MEAD (18-4, 11-2)
Cameron Cheung 1 0-0 3, Anthony Brin 2 0-0 5, Jax Wilke 1 0-2 2, Michael Ward 7 2-6 17, Derek Edwards 3 1-3 8, Alex Sandstrom 0 0-0 0, Michael Rice 2 0-0 5, Daniel Cloke 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 3-11 43.
HOLY FAMILY (18-4, 13-0)
Kyle Helbig 3 0-0 6, Joe Golter 3 3-3 10, Tanner Baird 7 7-8 21, Wega Kinoti 0 1-2 1, Aaron Sanders 0 0-0 0, Tanner Price 3 0-0 7, Michael Zeman 0 0-0 0, Cameron Miller 4 1-2 9, Dylan Hunter 0 0-0 . Totals 20 12-15 54.
Score by quarters:Mead 8 8 10 17 — 43
Holy Family 9 5 12 28 — 54
3-point field goals — Mead (6): Cheung, Brin, Ward, Edwards, Rice, Cloke; Holy Family (2): Golter, Price. Total fouls — Mead 16; Holy Family 12.