Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — Mead girls basketball is still rolling.
After securing a No. 12 seed in the Class 4A state tournament, the Mavericks played host to No. 21 Coronado in Tuesday night’s opening round. They won easily following a valiant first-half effort that boosted them in an even stronger second half for a 56-36 final.
Mead displayed excellent ball movement and dominated on the offensive boards. Thanks to strong pressure near the Coronado basket, the Cougars struggled to find a decent shot selection.
Sophomore guard Kyra Haan led her team with 17 points, followed by junior power forward Jackie Stephenson with 12.
“We’ve got a lot of talent,” head coach JR Sagner said. “Something I think I really love about our group is we’re super unselfish. We’ve got (four) kids averaging double figures (Haan, Stephenson, Edie Morrow and Charlotte Brennan) so it’s kind of like, ‘Who’s night is it tonight?’ That’s the mentality that the girls have and they don’t care who’s scoring the points. It’s really fun to be a part of.”
The Mavericks capitalized on nearly every mistake the Cougars made, which made Coronado’s comeback attempts all the more difficult. Mead, however, struggled a bit on its transition offense and ball handling at times.
“To be honest, I don’t think we played very well tonight and it showed a lot throughout the game,” Sagner noted. “We did enough to get the job done, which is good. I tell my kids all the time that an ugly win is better than an ugly loss and on top of that, it’s a playoff win. We’ll take it.”
The Mavericks got off to a hot start against the Cougars during a fast-paced, physical first half. They came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter to build up a sizable lead, mostly from inside the arc. Although they slowed down in the second frame, six girls got on the board early to round out the true team effort. Seven girls scored in all by the final buzzer.
At the midway point, the Mavericks held a 29-12 advantage. Their momentum didn’t stop there.
Mead built up a 50-27 lead late into the fourth quarter before letting the Cougars back in, ever so slightly. By that point, it was too little, too late.
“We really picked it up in the second half and when (my teammates) get excited, I get excited and stuff starts going in,” Haan said. “I think it gives us confidence in ourselves to be able to go out there and play our game and not play at the pace of the other team. Just do what we need to do and focus on ourselves.”
The ladies hope to carry that momentum forward when they face off with No. 5 Falcon for their Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday.
Mead boys take down Tigers in round one
Heading into its first game of the 4A state basketball tournament this week, the Mead boys basketball team held the high honor of a No. 5 seed. The Mavericks didn’t disappoint in their opening contest of the postseason on Tuesday night as they easily defeated No. 28 Cañon City, 68-43.
Junior Elijah Knudsen and sophomore Nick Basson exploded on offense, scoring 22 points apiece to carry their team. Junior James Shiers scored most of the rest of the Mavericks’ points with 13 of his own. Their combined barrage tired out the Tigers, especially in the second half.
The Mavericks now look to their Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday against rival and No. 12 seed Holy Family, who defeated No. 21 Grand Junction in a tight 67-56 contest.