MEAD — Two teams desperate for a win and looking to end their current losing streaks met at Mead High School on Thursday. The Mead Mavericks had lost eight straight games entering Thursday, with their last win coming on the road against the Fort Morgan Mustangs, who came to town for the rematch having lost six straight.
This time, the game would not be as close as the 39-37 game back on Jan. 8. Mead shut down the Fort Morgan offense, holding the Mustangs to 28 percent shooting and forcing 24 turnovers to win 52-32 on their home floor.
For coach Vern Rathbun, it was a win that felt even better after seeing his team lose a heartbreaker to the Frederick Warriors 41-39 in their last game.
“We’ve been playing well for the last four or five games, we just haven’t been able to pull out a win,” Rathbun said. “The Frederick game was a disappointing loss. We felt we out-played them the whole game. I wasn’t sure how the kids would react from that, but they are competitive and did what I thought they would do.”
Five different players scored early to help the Mavericks open the game on a 13-0 run. After a 3-pointer from Hailee Martinez opened the game, the team worked inside against the 2-3 zone and got out in transition after forcing turnovers. The run would be stopped by Autumn Wheatley of Fort Morgan at the foul line, but not until there was just 1:03 remaining in the quarter.
“The execution was there,” Rathbun said. “We really ran the offense well, but more than that, our defense was good. We played good.”
Fort Morgan would hold Mead off the scoreboard early in the second quarter to cut the lead down to seven, but again the Mavericks responded by working inside on offense and suffocating the Mustangs with their defense. Mead held Fort Morgan to 3-of-18 shooting in the first half and led 22-11.
Steady play inside from Maddie Muntz and Abbey Glynn saw the lead grow up to 21 points in the third and put the game out of reach in the second half.
Muntz finished with 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to get the double-double for the Mavericks in the win. Savanna Griebling had nine points with big contributions in the second half and Glynn scored five of her seven points in the first half. The game also saw the return of Mary Maher, who has missed some time due to injury. Mead remained without Riley Gilbert and Jackie Stephenson on Thursday but are starting to adjust with the current roster in place.
“It’s been a struggle because we’ve lost some good players and didn’t have the depth we want,” Rathbun said. “I thought Mary (Maher) didn’t play much but played well for us. That’s going to help with our depth moving forward.”
Despite the eight-game losing streak, Mead remains in position to secure a playoff bid thanks to their No. 41 ranking in the CHSAA Class 4A RPI standings. The Mavericks travel to Roosevelt Saturday night and host the Erie Tigers and Holy Family Tigers next week at home. Any win could be huge to keep them in the playoff picture.
“That sounds good to us,” Rathbun said on making the playoffs.
Mead 52, Fort Morgan 32
At Mead High School
FORT MORGAN (5-16, 1-13)
Lauren Keller 5 1-3 11, Maddie Griffith 2 2-2 7, Autumn Wheatley 0 4-4 4, Destiny Pelton 2 0-0 4, Emma Wolff 1 0-0 2, Allie Christensen 1 0-0 2, Clementina Numeralangu 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 7-9 32.
MEAD (6-14, 3-10)
Maddie Muntz 5 6-6 16, Savanna Griebling 3 3-6 9, Abbey Glynn 3 1-2 7, Maddox Boston 3 0-0 6, Hailee Martinez 2 0-0 6, Sarah Cloke 2 0-0 4, Bailey O’Dell 1 1-4 3, Mary Maher 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 12-20 52.
Score by quarters:
Fort Morgan (5-16, 1-13) 4 7 6 15 — 32
3-point field goals — Fort Morgan(1): Griffith; Mead(2): Martinez 2. Total fouls — Fort Morgan 13, Mead 16. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.