DENVER — In the end, Mead’s state tournament matchup against Machebeuf went as most expected it would.

Seeded No. 2 in the Class 3A field, host Machebeuf eased past the No. 31 Mavericks 63-35 on Friday night.

Mead, however, left feeling pretty good about its first-ever state appearance, which came in the program’s second varsity season.

“Definitely did not expect we’d be this far in two years,” said senior Kelsie Majerus, who led the team with 11 points. “It’s a great accomplishment how far we’ve come.”

Mead (12-12) didn’t go away quietly on Friday. Machebeuf (22-1) has blown away a lot of opponents, but the Mavericks hung with the favored Buffaloes during the first half.

Despite 13 first-half turnovers and three fouls by star player Kasey McKrola, Mead was within 28-19 at the break.

“We just tried to stay with them, keep them under wraps as much as we could, try to eliminate their possessions as much as we could and come out and hit a few shots,” Mead head coach Michael Ward said. “We did that in the first half. We stayed right there with them.”

Despite being encouraged at halftime, Mead saw Machebeuf pull away in the third quarter. Center Rebecca Howell scored nine of her game-high 23 points in that quarter as the Buffaloes stretched their lead to 51-24.

“The third quarter came and they put a nice little run on us and we couldn’t recover from that,” Ward said.

Majerus spent much of her night trying to defend Howell, which made for a difficult night.

“It was tough honestly,” she said. “She was a little brutal under there.”

Machebeuf got contributions from just about everybody, though, in advancing to the second round.

“We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us, but we tried our best,” Majerus said.

That’s all the Mavericks could ask for in their first trip to state. With most of the team coming back — Majerus and point guard Erica Shea are the only seniors — the future looks bright for Mead.

“I think we definitely left our mark,” Majerus said. “People will be looking for the team next year.”

Said Ward: “To be here in the second year, I couldn’t be happier.”

NOTABLE: McKrola finished with 10 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. … Machebeuf had just four turnovers, while Mead had 23. … The Mavericks went 7-3 in their last 10 games.

 

Machebeuf 63, Mead 35

At Machebeuf HS

MEAD (12-12)

Mikayla Martinez 2 0-1 4, Madi Sheffield 0 0-0 0, Riglie Reeves 0 0-0 0, Marina Hanlon 0 4-6 4, Rylee Ward 0 0-0 0, Allison Majerus 1 0-2 2, Erica Shea 1 0-0 2, Kelsie Majerus 5 1-1 11, Kasey McKrola 4 1-2 10, Maddie Uilk 0 0-0 0, Kari Lozinski 0 0-0 0, Katie Maher 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 8-14 35.

MACHEBEUF (22-1)

Danna Jenkins 2 2-4 7, Dianna Montoya 2 1-1 5, Monica Paolucci 0 0-0 0, Kirsten Grandon 2 5-6 10, Savannah Madrid-Andrews 0 0-0 0, Maggie Smith 0 0-0 0, Felicia Hernandez 0 0-0 0, Heidi Grandon 1 0-0 2, Alexa Tina 1 0-1 2, Lucy Rodgers 1 2-4 4, Aisha May 4 2-4 10, Rebecca Howell 10 3-6 23. Totals 23 15-26 63.

Score by quarters:

Mead 11 8 5 11 — 35

Machebeuf 16 12 23 12 — 63

3-point field goals — Mead (1): McKrola; Machebeuf (2): Jenkins, K. Grandon. Total fouls — Mead 20, Machebeuf 13. Fouled out — McKrola. Technical fouls — None.