ERIE — The last time the Mead boys basketball team entered the gym at Erie High School, the Mavericks left in defeat.
When the Mavericks returned to Erie on Tuesday night, the outcome was decidedly more positive.
Offense was in the air while the Mavericks won 90-65 over a tough Erie club to remain unbeaten in Tri-Valley League play so far this winter. It was the most points a Mead team has scored in a game since putting up 94 against Pueblo Centennial on Dec. 18, 2015.
"When we defended well, we got some stops and that led to points in transition," Mead head coach Darin Reese said. "When we got going in transition, things started to flow from there. They're all big games at this point but getting this one on the road is good for us because the last time we were here, we lost and we didn't play very well. To come back here in a tough environment and win is especially big."
Ranked No. 6 in Class 4A to open the season, the Mead boys fell out of the CHSAANow.com rankings after losing three games before winter break including a tough loss to defending 4A state champion Longmont. The Mavericks have now won 10 straight and have climbed back into the statewide rankings at No. 10 as of Monday.
An uptick in their offense has helped quite a bit.
The Mavericks (11-3, 7-0) have been putting the ball in the basket at a high rate this season and are averaging 71.8 points a night. Tuesday's victory against the Tigers (6-8, 2-5) pushed them over the 1,000-point threshold for the season through 14 of 23 scheduled games.
Four Mavericks scored in double figures on Tuesday.
Mavericks senior Caleb Ayers scored 12 of his 20 points during a 31-point third quarter in which the Mavericks built a 17-point lead that all but sealed the game. Six-foot-8 senior Jax Wilke scored a game-high 21 points while exploiting his size advantage in the post against an Erie roster that lists just three players over six feet tall. Nick Jacobs, who averages 13.4 points per game, scored 18 points and Trey Ward scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
"We knew they were going to be a little bit smaller than us but we also knew they were going to be a tough team and they were going to come out and battle," Ward said. "We wanted to get it into the post because we knew Jax was our big advantage. He's a big guy and we always look for him, and we also always like to get out and run."
Since they opened the season with a 6-3 record, the Erie boys have lost five straight games. Sophomores Kevin Loy and Jason Nguyen combined for 29 points on Tuesday night.
Up next, the Mavericks have a big conference game at No. 3-ranked Holy Family (12-2, 7-0) on Thursday. The outcome of that game — the first of two between the teams — will be a major factor in determining the Tri-Valley League title.
The Erie Tigers will play at Frederick (7-7, 2-5) on Thursday.
Mead 90, Erie 65
At Erie H.S.
MEAD (11-3, 7-0)
Sock 0 0-0 0, N. Jacobs 7 2-2 18, Maher 2 2-2 7, Wilhelm 2 0-0 4, Ward 4 2-2 12, Ayers 7 3-4 20, Pelzel 0 0-0 0, Knudsen 0 0-0 0, Wilke 7 7-8 21, Leick 0 0-0 0, Bartholomew 3 0-0 6, KJ Jacobs 1 0-1 2. Totals 33 16-19 90.
ERIE (6-8, 2-5)
T. Rademacher 0 0-0 0, Tyson 2 2-2 8, C. Rademacher 3 2-2 10, Hargrave 4 0-0 8, Nguyen 6 2-2 14, Loy 7 0-0 15, Mendoza 0 0-1 0, Lucero 2 0-0 4, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Brooks 2 2-3 6. Totals 26 8-10 65.
Score by quarters:Mead 18 19 31 21 — 90
3-point field goals — Mead (8): Ayers 3, Ward 2, N. Jacobs 2, Maher; Erie (5): Tyson 2, C. Rademacher 2, Loy. Total fouls — Mead 15, Erie 19. Fouled out — C. Rademacher. Technical fouls — C. Rademacher.