MEAD — An 11-0 run in the second quarter and strong defensive effort guided the Mead Mavericks to a 54-36 win over the Longmont Trojans in their season opener Friday night.
Both teams struggled throughout the night with turnovers, preventing either side from getting a comfortable lead. Three lead changes took place in the first quarter, but the Mavericks were the first to find an offensive identity by going down low in the paint and drawing fouls to get chances at the free throw line. Post players were set up by ball screens from the back side, allowing them to post up on the block with the defender at their backs. Abbey Glynn was the beneficiary and Mead took a 13-9 lead in the first quarter.
Annika Wetterstrom and Tanna Carson hit a couple of shots for Longmont to start the second quarter and tie the game. From there, the Mavericks went on the first of two scoring runs that made the difference in the game, scoring 12 straight points with the same approach of going inside and getting to the free throw line. The run saw them take a double-digit lead, but Longmont answered just before the end of the half with free throws from Tara Hitchcock and a put back by Carson to trail by five points.
A three-point play by Carson and layup from Ashley Dillow started the second half for Longmont and again tied the game, but Mead would answer. This time, however, it was a pair of shots from behind the arc by Hailee Martinez that got the lead back to the Mavericks. Two more shots from the paint to end the quarter saw the lead go up to eight points for the Mavericks.
After trading turnovers and points to start the fourth, Mead put its foot down on Longmont to finish the game with defensive pressure that forced more turnovers by the Trojans. Those turnovers resulted in a handful of layups in transition, and the Mavericks were still able to get some looks from the post inside and by the guards with a couple more 3-pointers to pull away for the win.
Martinez and Glynn each finished with 10 points, leading Mead in the win. The Trojans got a lift from Carson with eight points to fill in for Wetterstrom and another eight from Hitchcock.
The Mavericks will travel to Steamboat Springs for a tournament next week while Longmont will face the Roosevelt RoughRiders in Johnstown on Saturday to finish the week.