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Mead's Cameron Cheung dives for a steal during the No. 9 Mavericks' second-round playoff game at Mead High School on Saturday night.
Brad Cochi / BoCoPreps.com
Mead’s Cameron Cheung dives for a steal during the No. 9 Mavericks’ second-round playoff game at Mead High School on Saturday night.

MEAD — The Mead boys basketball team needed to turn things around quickly on Saturday night and senior Cameron Cheung took it upon himself to do whatever it took to make that happen.

Hosting the 24th-seeded Skyview Wolverines in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament, the Mavericks had just played a terrible first half that threatened their playoff standing. Cheung had been solid defensively in the first two quarters. But after halftime, the 5-foot-10 senior guard put on a defensive display that inspired his teammates to return to their typical level of play down the stretch.

Once Cheung got them back on track, the Mavericks rolled to a 71-54 victory.

“We were just struggling in the first half and coach told us we needed to come together,” said Cheung, who also scored 13 points. “My teammates gave me the energy to give the extra effort and that effort seemed to come back around to our team.”

After an admittedly poorly first half, the Mavericks (20-4) were tied 21-21 with the Wolverines (18-6) to start the second.

An outright menace once the Mavericks switched to a full-court press in the third quarter, Cheung had nine steals, nearly all of which quickly turned into points at the other end. He stole the ball on the Wolverines’ first two possessions coming out of halftime, which spurred an 11-2 run and the Mavericks eventually outscored the Wolverines 27-11 in the third quarter.

“We showed some real jitters,” Mavericks head coach Darin Reese said. “We played really fast and not like ourselves in the first half. Things changed in the second half and it started with defense. Cameron Cheung is awesome, man.”

The Mavericks made just one of their dozen 3-point attempts in the first half but seniors Michael Ward (21.6 ppg) and Alex Sandstrom got going on offense in the second half. Ward, who is the Mead program’s all-time leading scorer, scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Sandstrom (12 ppg) scored 17 of his 19 after halftime.

“Cameron’s defense was great in the first half, too,” Sandstrom said. “Everybody else was just so-so. He came right out in the second half and got two steals and two fast-break layups. That gave us all an energy boost and we started knocking down the shots we usually knock down.”

With Saturday’s win, the Mavericks qualified for their second straight Sweet 16 after advancing to the Great 8 last season. They travel to No. 8 Northridge on Wednesday.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

Mead 71, Skyview 54

At Mead H.S.

SKYVIEW (18-6)

Butler 4 1-4 9, Bruce 0 1-2 1, Huerta 2 0-0 5, Garcia 5 0-1 12, Valdez 5 3-4 15, Medina 0 0-0 0, Padilla 0 0-0 0, Hepner 0 0-0 0, Gutierrez 0 0-0 0, Mireles 2 2-2 6, Gilley 1 0-0 2, Gully 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 7-13 54.

MEAD (20-4)

Cheung 4 5-6 13, Kastratavic 0 0-0 0, Brin 2 0-0 6, Wilke 1 0-2 2, Ward 6 8-9 21, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Sandstrom 7 2-2 19, Rice 1 2-2 4, Maher 0 0-2 0, Cloke 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 17-23 71.

Score by quarters:

Skyview

8
13
11
22

54

Mead

11
10
27
23

71

3-point field goals —
Skyview (5): Valdez 2, Garcia 2, Huerta; Mead (6): Sandstrom 3, Brin 2, Ward. Total fouls —
Skyview 20, Mead 21.

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