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Boys basketball: Mead’s balance tips the scales against Erie

Mead's Michael Ward looks to pick up two points during the Mavericks' Tri-Valley League win at Erie.
Matthew Jonas / Times-Call
Mead’s Michael Ward looks to pick up two points during the Mavericks’ Tri-Valley League win at Erie.


ERIE — With three of the Tri-Valley League’s bottom dwellers in Mead’s sights, the Mavericks are starting to think about getting to hang that elusive banner in their home gym.

While Tuesday’s win at Erie was a solid step toward wrapping things up, the Mavericks are trying not to get ahead of themselves. They are believing in each other, though, and that’s the move forward head coach Darin Reese has seen his team take the past few weeks.

“Our mindset from the start has been to get better daily and just focus on the next one, and our guys have done a good job of that,” Reese said. “Guys have really grasped what we’re trying to do and embraced the roles on the team. They’ve played unselfishly.”

They’ve been a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams, too, and Erie was definitely on that list this year. Tuesday’s 72-55 victory for the Mavericks on Erie’s home court marked the second time they have won by double-digits in the season series, and the only times Erie has lost by more than 10 points all season.

Mead had the perfect recipe of offense and defense to improve to 10-1 in league and 13-7 overall. Blake Goodwin set a tone defensively with nine blocked shots (six in the first quarter), pressure on defense helped create 13 Erie turnovers, and six different players scored at least eight points.

“It’s tough for us because we have a three-guard, two-big type team and they have four guards out there,” said Erie’s Jesse Tallman, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot as the Tigers dropped to 13-7 and 6-5 in league. “It’s hard to have a big out there on one of them. They just got our number this year.”

If confidence comes in waves, Mead had it in the second frame and really never let it drift away. The Mavericks burned Erie for 13 3-pointers in their meeting on Jan. 17, and while they did not match that total (they had nine), four different players scored from the perimeter in the second quarter as they extended their lead from 12-11 to 38-22.

Reserve Cody Beaver watched as his teammates started hitting shots, and when he came in during the second stanza, he immediately caught the bug. He hit three 3’s in a row, remarking later about the scheme creating open shots.

“We shoot all the time in practice and just work hard at it, but honestly it’s our big guys that allow us to do it,” Beaver said. “Blake, John Brady, those guys draw the defense in and open it up for us. You’d think teams could learn, but if you go up on us then you have Blake to deal with down low.”

Beaver was one of six players with at least eight points, and Griffin Nelson was the team’s leader with a modest 12.

“When we run our stuff, we’ll eventually find that open shot,” Reese said.

Erie’s best chance to rally in the second half came right out of the locker room. Joel Smith and Tallman combined for the first six points to cut the lead to 10 at 38-28, but the work went for naught as Mead responded with another 12-2 run. That run started, again, with a 3-pointer from Robert Kowalski.

Dylan Brink finished with 27 points for Erie, hitting all five of his team’s perimeter shots. Smith added eight points for EHS.

Mead has three games left on the regular season schedule: a road game at Northridge followed by two home games against Roosevelt and Skyline. Those teams are a combined 10-22 in league play and 20-39 for the season.

“We talk about it all the time, but one game at a time will hopefully get it done for us,” Beaver said.

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Mead 72, Erie 55

At Erie H.S.

MEAD (13-7, 10-1)

Michael Ward 1 7-7 9, Aaron Cheung 3 3-4 10, James Maher 2 0-0 6, Robert Kowalski 1 0-0 3, Griffin Nelson 4 3-4 12, Walker Korell 4 2-2 11, Cody Beaver 3 0-0 9, John Brady 1 0-2 2, Thomas Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Blake Goodwin 3 2-2 8. Totals 23 19-21 72.

ERIE (13-7, 6-5)

Joel Smith 3 2-2 8, Kyle Leahy 1 3-4 5, Dylan Brink 9 4-5 27, Brett Egan 2 0-0 4, Reece Melton 0 1-2 1, Jesse Tallman 5 0-0 10. Totals 20 10-13 55.

Score by quarters:

Mead 12 26 15 19 — 72

Erie 11 11 16 17 — 55

3-point field goals — Mead (9): Cheung, Maher 2, Kowalski, Nelson, Korell, Beaver 3; Erie (5): D. Brink 5.



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