LONGMONT — Mead girls basketball coach Mike Ward scoffs at the notion his bench is referred to as “role players.”
No. For the first time in the program’s history Ward has the luxury of depth that allows him to roll out nine and sometimes 10 players with relative ease. On Tuesday night in the Mavericks’ Tri-Valley League opener against Frederick, that paid off in a big way.
The Mavericks eventually wore down the Warriors and pulled away in the fourth quarter to score a 48-37 win and move to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in league play.
“Haylee (McCullough) played well tonight, Kaylee Dion played well tonight, Kari Lozinski played well, Katie Maher … that’s why I like the fact of being able to go 10 deep,” Ward said. “We can keep throwing people at them and you know what, we kept wearing them down.”
The two teams were never separated by more than two possessions into the third quarter, and with Mead up 27-22 with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to play it was as though the Mavericks let up for a 30-second stretch. Frederick standout guard Alex Dufour made them pay.
The junior went on a 6-0 run by herself that included back-to-back steals and lay-ups that gave the Warriors the lead for the first time since midway through the second quarter.
But the Warriors (3-3, 0-1) were unable to hang on to the momentum and watched the Mavericks respond with an 8-0 run into the start of the fourth quarter that stretched the lead back out to 35-28.
“What the scoreboard showed was who the better team was tonight,” said Frederick coach Roger Dufour. “Obviously they pulled away from us and they were the better team tonight.”
Said Mead senior Marina Hanlon, who scored eight of her team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter: “What we have to work on is consistently playing defense throughout the whole quarter. When we stopped for those 30 seconds, she took advantage of that and Ward called the timeout and said we couldn’t let them build any more on this.”
The Warriors got as close as 35-31 in the final 8 minutes, but the legs just weren’t there and the shots — while open looks — just weren’t dropping. Alex Dufour scored 13 points, all in the first three quarters. The Warriors were led by senior Shyanna Neu’s 15 points, including a 10 of 12 effort at the free throw line.
Mead’s balanced attack was led by Hanlon and McCullough, who came off the bench to score 10 points as well. Mikayla Martinez finished with nine and both Rylee Ward and Maher added five.
“We were fortunate to get a game in on Saturday against Niwot to kind of break off the cobwebs a little bit, but you could see we still weren’t in the flow of things,” Mike Ward said. “But getting this first win in conference is big for us and it’s a huge confidence booster for us as well.”
The Mavericks will put their four-game winning streak on the line Friday night in Berthoud against the Spartans, who only run eight girls on their varsity roster. Frederick will look to bounce back with back-to-back home games against Northridge and Erie.
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Mead 48, Frederick 37
At Mead HS
FREDERICK (3-3, 1-1)
Skyler McCarty 0 0-0 0, Mae Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Alex Dufour 5 3-4 13, Shyanna Neu 2 10-12 15, Amalia Rolf 0 0-0 0, Allyson Reid 2 0-3 5, Kay Kay Martinez 0 0-0 0, Sydney Lehman 1 0-0 2, Makenzie DiGesualdo 1 0-1 2, Hannah Garland 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 13-20 37.
MEAD (5-4, 1-0)
Kaylee Dion 1 0-0 2, Mikayla Martinez 3 3-5 9, Fei Daly 1 1-2 3, Marina Hanlon 2 5-8 10, Allison Majerus 2 0-2 4, Kari Lozinski 0 0-0 0, Rylee Ward 2 0-0 5, Haylee McCullough 4 2-2 10, Katie Maher 2 1-2 5. Totals 17 12-21 48.
Score by quarters:
Frederick 10 10 8 9 — 37
Mead 16 12 14 14 — 56
3-point field goals — Frederick (2): Neu, Reid; Mead (2): Hanlon, Ward. Total fouls — Frederick 17, Mead 18. Fouled out — Rolf.