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Mead celebrates boys basketball state championship win with Friday parade

Corby Tecu, left,  Jason Pelzel, and Porter Easton, lead the team down the street. The Mead community hosted a parade in front of the Mead High School to honor the boys basketball team’s recent 4A state championship win.
(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Corby Tecu, left, Jason Pelzel, and Porter Easton, lead the team down the street. The Mead community hosted a parade in front of the Mead High School to honor the boys basketball team’s recent 4A state championship win. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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If not for the coronavirus pandemic, coach Darin Reese knows that the day the Mavericks boys basketball team faced their opponents at the Broadmoor World Arena, the stands would have been brimming with Mavericks fans dressed in orange.

The team on Friday got a look at the crowds they have been missing this season, as more than 100 residents gathered along County Road 7 Friday to celebrate the boys team’s historic Class 4A state championship win during a celebration parade.

Teachers, students, family members and fans stood outside Mead High School. They wore team colors of burnt orange and black and waved signs and shiny pompoms as they cheered.

“We love these kids to death,” said Mark Basson, who was among those wearing orange.

Led by police, fire, the band and cheer and dance teams, the basketball players walked County Road 7 in front of Mead High School to the cheers of their family, friends and peers.

The team last year was on track to complete their championship goals — a hope that was dashed in the Final Four, when the coronavirus pandemic led to the season’s cancellation.

This year, though, the team got a chance to seize that victory.

The Mavericks on March 21 defeated Montrose 68-44 at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, claiming their first boys basketball state championship since 1957. The win is the first team title in any sport since the new school opened.

The celebration parade was initially scheduled for early April, but was delayed when the Mead team had to quarantine, due to a “coronavirus situation.”

For Mark Basson, seeing the town lined up for the team felt like a continuation of the support he has long seen from the players and town.

Mark Basson’s son Nick Basson, 16, a sophomore shooting guard, suffered a blood clot and stroke on March 12, just nine days before the championship game. The teen survived the health scare, after undergoing life-saving surgery, the Denver Post reported. The players haven’t let Nick Basson forget he was part of the team and their path to victory.

The Mead team during pregame wore warmup shirts with “Basson” on it, Mark Basson recalled. During the championship game, Nick Basson got to sit on the bench and cheer on his team.

As he watched the Mead town line up Friday, Mark Basson felt it was a long time coming.

“Finally the moment will settle in that they’ve won,” Mark Basson said.

Mead resident Mo Charlo said he believes the team had an even stronger motivation to win for Nick Basson. Charlo and his wife, Alisha Charlo, and their 4-year-old daughter, Zendaiya, who waved an orange and black pompom, also lined the road to celebrate the victory.

“They’re such a great unit, tight knit on and off the court,” Mo Charlo said. “To see this success was amazing.”

Mo and Alisha Charlo’s nephew, Elijah Knudsen, plays on the team. Knudsen was recognized as the BoCo Preps Player of the Year and CHSAA 4A player of the year.

“It’s just a great group of boys,” Alisha Charlo said.

As Reese marched alongside his team, despite the mask on his face, there was a smile in his eyes.

“It’s just awesome to have everybody here,” Reese said. “They’ve supported us so well throughout the years, regardless of what sport or team or activity.”

Breaking away from his team for a moment, Knudsen echoed that sentiment.

“The Mead community has always been there for us,” Knudsen said.

Thinking back to the team’s victory on March 21, Knudsen described it as the “best feeling in the world.”

“It was a long path there, a lot of bumps in the road, but we’re a close team and we pushed through all those challenges,” he said. “Without the contributions of every person on the team, we wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

A ceremony in the gym for the players and their families further celebrated the moment.

Mead High School Principal Rachael Ayers and athletic director Chad Eisentrager praised the team’s accomplishments.

“Behind every great team is a great coach and great coaching staff,” Ayers said. “They recognize that winning, while great, isn’t everything. (Great coaches recognize) that winning is about raising young men and young women to be the best people they can be. … Darin is one of those coaches.”

Ayers added: “Winning doesn’t happen on accident — it happens with strategy.”

While the moment was a historic one for Mead, Eisentrager said he believes the team has blazed a trail.

“This will not be the last time this happens in Mead’s high school history.”