ERIE — Mead didn’t have a game the night it clinched its second straight league title thanks to Skyline’s double-overtime win over Erie last Friday.
The timing — probably as good as any.
The Mavericks’ first chance for a postgame celebration for their continued reign over the Tri-Valley League came after an 81-62 road win against the Tigers Tuesday. And if there was any festivity, it was muted.
Elijah Knudsen had 20 points and Jacob Bartholomew added 17 as Mead won its 21st consecutive game of the season and 32nd in a row in league, dating back to 2018.
“The league championship is awesome,” Mead coach Darin Reese said. “That’s certainly one of our goals, but we’re kind of on to practice tomorrow and on to the next game against Holy Family.”
Trey Ward and Will Maher each added 13 and the Mavericks used a big surge in the second half to run away with a game that was tight at halftime. Eventually, it was Mead’s 17th win of the season by double figures.
Now with a win over Holy Family Friday, the Mavericks (21-1, 15-0) will likely go into the 4A state postseason as the top seed.
“We have a bigger goal in mind,” Ward said. “We knew early in the season that we were going to get to this point. Yeah, (winning league) is special, but we have our minds on something bigger, the state championship.”
Erie’s boys basketball team celebrated its seniors prior to the game before dropping its second straight.
LaDorian Havard, a senior, had 14 points and Cole Rademacher had 11 to lead the way for the Tigers (16-6, 11-4), who are still in good shape — coming in ranked ninth in RPI — with one game remaining. The top 16 seeds will receive a first-round bye and at least one home game.
The start to Tuesday’s game at least looked far different from the Jan. 21 meeting when the Mavericks went up 24 at the break and won by 30.
Kayan Hargrave’s 3 gave the Tigers a 27-26 lead with 4:06 left in the second quarter before the Mavericks closed the half on an 11-5 spurt. In the ticking seconds, Knudsen struck from deep to put Mead up 37-32, and then just 88 seconds into the third, the lead was into double figures with JP Shiers’ three-point play. Later, Maher found Bartholomew for alley-oop to make it 64-44 with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
The Mavericks led by as many as 29 in the fourth.
“We started out a little slow, we were sluggish today,” Ward said. “We had a great talk with our coach and came out with energy and enthusiasm on defense. And our defense leads to our scoring.”
Beforehand, the Tigers beat the Mavericks 71-52 in the girls’ game as they celebrated their lone senior, Alyssa Barnett. Genevieve Gudino had a team-high 18 points, Deb Altschuler added 13 and Barnett 12 as the Tigers won their 11th straight. Grace Moyers had eight points.
Erie coach Sarah Pfeifer subbed out Barnett in the final minute to a warm reception and embraces on the bench. Afterward, coaches and players lined up to spell “WE LOVE ALYSSA” with synchronized shirts as she along with the boys seniors were recognized as part of a quick ceremony.
Pfeifer said Barnett has been a strong leader on a team that has flourished the past two seasons despite its young roster. Her resume this includes closing out the state softball final with 1 2/3 shutout innings in the fall and has scored in double figures four times this winter .
“A great, great leader with her effort and her desire to win,” Pfeifer said. “Especially in practice, everybody plays hard in the game. But she comes everyday – she wins sprints as a post player pretty regularly.”
Maddox Boston had 15 points for Mead, which had its four-game winning streak end.
The Mavericks travel to Holy Family Friday, while the Tigers are at Frederick.