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  • Caleb Ayers of Mead goes up for a jumper in...

    Brad Cochi /

    Caleb Ayers of Mead goes up for a jumper in the Mavericks' season-opening win over Pueblo Central.

  • Mead's David Wilhelm drives to the basket in Thursday's game...

    Brad Cochi /

    Mead's David Wilhelm drives to the basket in Thursday's game against Pueblo Central.



GOLDEN — The Mead boys basketball team made its first-ever Great 8 appearances, back-to-back, in the past two years.

While the program is on a roll, this winter also presents an even greater challenge of having to retool following the graduation of two talented senior classes that led deep playoff runs in consecutive seasons. If Thursday’s 58-41 win over a solid Pueblo Central team in the first round of the Golden/D’Evelyn Preview Classic is any indication of where the Mavericks’ starting baseline is, however, they’re off to a good start.

“Pretty much everyone is in a new position so it was good to get this one under our belts,” Mavericks head coach Darin Reese said. “We definitely have some things to work on and we definitely had some ups and downs tonight, but we competed and our attitude and effort was great all the way through.”

Eager to get the season underway, the Mavericks (1-0) jumped out to a 17-7 lead after one quarter and continued to give the Wildcats (0-2) trouble with their combination of size inside and outside shooting. Leading the Mavericks to a 32-16 halftime lead as one of only three seniors on the roster, Derek Edwards was 3 for 3 from the perimeter in the first two quarters.

“It’s a little rusty but when my teammates give me such good shots, you just try to put them in the basket,” said Edwards, who recently completed a quarterfinal run with the Mead football team. “This was a good game to see where we’re at to start the season and we have to figure out what we need to do to get where we want to go and to find our identity.”

Junior Jax Wilke, who figures to be primed for a breakout season as a 6-foot-7 inside-out threat, led the Mavericks with 14 points. Fellow junior David Wilhelm, who was injured last season, scored 13. The pair combined for 13 of the Mavericks’ 16 fourth-quarter points.

“I don’t think I shot the ball particularly well in this game, but it felt good to get the win,” Wilke said. “I like passing the ball too, so I was just trying to find my open teammates whenever I could.”

The Mavericks will find out a lot more about themselves when they play No. 4 Lewis-Palmer in the classic-style tournament’s second round on Friday.

Brad Cochi: or

Mead 58, Pueblo Central 41

At Golden H.S.


B. Martin 1 2-2 5, Freeman 0 0-0 0, Madrid 2 2-2 6, Beltran 0 0-0 0, Santry 1 0-0 3, Teter 3 0-0 7, N. Martin 2 2-4 6, Eccher-Salazar 7 0-1 14. Totals 16 6-9 41.

MEAD (1-0)

Ayers 1 0-0 2, N. Jacobs 2 1-2 6, Maher 3 0-0 8, Wilhelm 4 4-5 13, Ward 1 0-0 2, Lee 0 0-2 0, Silbernagel 1 0-0 2, Edwards 4 0-1 11, Wilke 5 2-2 14, K.J. Jacobs 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 7-12 58.

Score by quarters:

Pueblo Central 79718—41Mead 17151016—58

3-point field goals — Mead (9): Edwards 3, Wilke 2, Maher 2, Wilhelm, N. Jacobs; Pueblo Central (3): B. Martin, Santry, Teter. Total fouls — Mead 15, Pueblo Central 17.