DENVER - After a night of missed opportunities, the Mead boys basketball team got two more with its season on the line.
The Mavericks clawed back from nine down late, overcame a cold night from the foul line to have a chance to tie D'Evelyn in the second round of the Class 4A tournament.
The Jaguars blocked Derek Edwards layup to tie it with 20 seconds left, and then, trailing 57-54 with 3.9 seconds left, junior Jax Wilke got an inbound pass, took a dribble and rose up for a game-tying 3-pointer.
His shot clanged off the front of the rim, and after a meaningless tip at the buzzer Mead had fallen to the Jaguars, 57-56, on Saturday night.
The loss spoiled what could have been a great comeback for Mead (15-10). The 20th-seeded Mavericks never led but they never relented to keep their season alive.
"We were down eight or nine three or four times in the game and battled back every time," coach Darin Reese said. "It says a lot about the character of our kids, how tough they are."
They were also a little unfortunate. With 3:25 remaining, Trey Ward was called for his fourth foul and then given his fifth when he hit a layup well after the whistle.
The 13th-seeded Jaguars hit a free throw to go up eight, but Mead (15-9) staged a comeback. The Mavericks went on a 10-1 run to make it 55-54 with 1:31 left and then thought they had a chance to take control when the officials assessed a technical on D'Evelyn's Cole Clifton when he dunked the ball well after the whistle with 33 seconds left.
After a brief conference, the technical was rescinded.
"The explanation was they decided to go with a delay of game," Reese said. "That was tough, especially at that juncture of the game. We would have two free throws and the ball. A game changer. "
Still, Mead had a chance to send the game into an extra period. Wilke, who finished with a team-high 17, had a good but contested look but couldn't get it to go down.
"The idea was for me to get the ball, shot fake and dribble. Looking back on it I probably should have used an extra dribble," Wilke said. "I had to get it off quick or risk them fouling us."
The Mavericks also hurt themselves by missing 10 of 14 free throws and giving up two offensive rebounds that led to a D'Evelyn 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
The loss stings, but with only three seniors on the team Mead is looking forward to next season.
"We're a young team so next year we'll have four seniors and three juniors so we'll be a lot older and wiser next year," Wilke said.
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D'Evelyn 57, Mead 56
At D'Evelyn H.S.
Wilke 7 1-3 17, Edwards 5 0-3 10, Wilhelm 5 0-2 10, Ayers 3 2-2 10, Maher 2 0-1 4, Ward 1 1-2 3, Jacobs 1 0-1 2. Totals 24 4-14 56.
Clifton 8 -9 23, Dinegar 5 3-6 14, Brady 5 0-0 13, Sampson 2 0-0 5, Willis 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 10-15 57.
Score by quarters:Mead14101715—56
3-point field goals — Mead (4): Wilke 2, Ayers 2; D'Evelyn (5): Brady 3, Dinegar, Sampson. Total fouls — Mead 17, D'Evelyn 17. Fouled out — Ward.