WINDSOR — There was clearly a lot on the line on Friday night in Windsor.
But anyone that has paid close attention to the Tri-Valley League this year knows that even after Windsor's thrilling 63-60 victory over Mead, squads that entered the night deadlocked atop the conference, absolutely nothing is certain for the Wizards.
"I think even (Windsor) would tell you that they didn't wrap anything up tonight," Mead head coach Darin Reece said.
The win puts the Windsor in the drivers seat with a week to go in the regular season at 10-2 in the Tri-Valley, but they still have to go to Berthoud and then close out the regular season at Erie.
Mead (13-8 overall, 9-3 in the TVL) will host and try to avenge their earlier loss to Holy Family and then close out with Berthoud.
The Mavericks, who beat Windsor 61-56 last month on their home court, gave themselves a little breathing room early in the third with a 11-3 run to open the quarter that built their lead to a game high nine points at 39-30.
It was a lead they would hang on to until the 1:38 mark of the fourth quarter.
Windsor rallied in the closing minutes thanks to their press that started to take it toll on the Mavs and, more importantly, timely baskets from Kirk Relford and Tyler McGinnis.
"We had some pretty untimely turnovers and give credit to them, they did a great job defensively," Reece said. "Our execution in the last two-three minutes wasn't nearly what it was in the first 28-29 minutes. Fatigue probably had something to do with it, but more so I think it was Windsor's intensity defensively."
McGinnis tied the game at 58-58 with 1:38 to play and then he was the recipient of a fast-break layup after a Mead turnover just 28 second later that gave the Wizards their first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter.
Mead would respond with a big play of their own. After Jax Wilke's missed 10-foot jumper, Derek Edwards went up hard for the rebound and was able to tie the game back up at 60-60 with 31 seconds left.
It left enough time for Windsor to draw up one last play and they got the ball into the hot hands of Relford, who hit a contested 24-foot 3-pointer with two seconds left to win the game. He finished with a game-high 25 points.
While Reece admitted, "this hurt right now,", the Mavericks are playing good and aggressive basketball at the right time and won't let this loss define them.
"The goal for us year in and year out is to play our best this time of the year," Reece said. "I think we are getting there, we have a young team — experience wise at the varsity level — and we have grown up each game and this will make us better down the stretch."
Wilke led the balanced Mavericks attack with 17 points. Sophomore Nick Jacobs was sensational en route to his 16 points and Edwards finished with 13.
WINDSOR 63, MEAD 60
MEAD (13-8, 9-3)
Ayers 1 0-0 3, Jacobs 7 2-2 16, Maher 2 2-2 7, Wilhelm 1 0-0 2, Ward 1 0-0 2, Lee 0 0-0 0, Edwards 6 1-1 13, Wilke 5 6-7 17. Totals 23 11-12 60.
WINDSOR (15-6, 10-2)
Relford 8 5-5 25, Rasmuson 0 0-0 0, Scoggin 0 0-0 0, Seyboldt 6 1-2 15, L. McGinnis 1 0-0 2, Huntsman 3 0-1 9, Pedersen 1 0-2 2, T. McGinnis 3 3-3 10. Totals 22 9-13 63.
Score by quarters:Mead9192210—60
3-point field goals — Mead (3): Ayers, Maher, Wilke; Windsor (10): Relford 4, Huntsman 3, Seyboldt 2, T. McGinnis. Total fouls — Mead 14, Windsor 13.