LONGMONT — Brace yourself, folks.
The Tri-Valley League title in boys basketball is coming down to the last thread of nylon on the hoop.
The Mead Mavericks made sure to hold up their end of the bargain on Tuesday, fending off Skyline for the second time this season to put almost all the marbles on Friday's game up at Windsor.
It's been a three-team race for most of the league slate, with Holy Family joining the Mavericks and Wizards as possible title hopefuls. With Windsor's 1-point win over Holy Family and the Mavs' 56-44 victory against the Falcons, Mead and Windsor are both 9-2 in the TVL with Mead winning the first matchup between the teams.
"We're ready to go and we're going to play any team, anywhere, any time," senior Derek Edwards said Tuesday.
Each team still has three league games remaining, but Mead (13-7 overall) made sure to not look past a Falcons team that can get hot behind senior Brayden Blick.
Skyline, however, was missing 6-foot-6 sophomore Austin Robison, and because of that Mead was able to establish an early inside presence. Edwards (nine points) and Jax Wilke (also nine points) got to work in the post, and their early effectiveness opened up the perimeter for kick-outs and dribble-penetration with which the Mavs capitalized on through most of the night.
Mead turned a 15-13 first quarter deficit into a 26-16 advantage with 5:09 left before half, and MHS led by seven points most of the way through the third quarter.
Blick did catch fire for a time, as 12 of his 17 points came in the third frame, and when Gage Robertson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of a good Falcons run, all the sudden it was just 42-41 for Mead.
But the Mavericks responded with the next seven points to start the fourth quarter, and that turned out to be enough as Skyline posted just three points in the finishing frame.
Nick Jacobs scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth, including the corner 3-pointer that got MHS back on track, and Edwards also had a clutch offensive rebound after Blick had fouled out with 1:51 left in the game.
"We saw them go on a run there, but we just preached locking down on defense and crashing the offensive boards and I think that's what helped us close this game out," Edwards said. "Blick is a dangerous player, he always has been, and so our focus was to stop him and make other guys beat us. It was a real good job of our defenders of keeping him in check after he went on his run."
While Mead has Windsor on Friday, Skyline will look to get back on track up at Roosevelt.
Mead 56, Skyline 44
At Mead HS
SKYLINE (7-12, 2-9)
Smith 1 4-6 6, Lopez 1 0-0 2, Martinez 2 0-0 6, Blick 6 2-2 17, Robertson 3 1-2 9, Roy 1 0-1 2, H. Robison 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 7-11 44.
MEAD (13-7, 9-2)
Ayers 2 0-0 6, N. Jacobs 4 5-7 14, Maher 2 0-0 5, Wilhelm 2 0-0 4, Ward 1 0-0 2, Lee 2 0-0 4, Edwards 3 3-6 9, Wilke 3 3-3 9, K. Jacobs 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 11-16 56.
Score by quarters:Skyline1510163—44
3-point field goals — Skyline (7): Blick 3, Martinez 2, Robertson 2; Mead (5): Ayers 2, KJ Jacobs, Nick Jacobs, Will Maher. Fouled out — Blick.