Skip to content

Basketball: Frederick boys stun Mead in fourth quarter

Mead girls stave off late Frederick comeback

Mead's Aiden Herrera goes up for a layup against Frederick's Isaiah Ortega during the first quarter of their season-opener at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.
Mead’s Aiden Herrera goes up for a layup against Frederick’s Isaiah Ortega during the first quarter of their season-opener at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.

LONGMONT — There’s nothing quite like a rivalry to start the boys basketball season.

On Tuesday night, in a packed-house rematch of the Class 4A boys quarterfinal matchup from a few months earlier, No. 6 Frederick — now in 5A — stormed back in the fourth quarter to knock down No. 4 Mead, 76-70, to maintain their surge ahead of the Mavericks during the 2022 calendar year.

Frederick senior point guard Luke Justice took the reins of his offense with a monster 26 points as senior forward Matias Aldana added another 19. Mead, on the other hand, enjoyed 17-point performances from seniors Nick Basson, Tucker Mills and Aiden Herrera, and junior small forward Dominic McLawrence kept his team’s offensive fire going with another 11.

It seems the Golden Eagles aren’t ready to shed the 2021-22 season yet after they shocked the classification with a trip to the Final Four. It didn’t matter that they lost some major firepower after that run.

“It’s all friendly love, but they were saying they’re going to beat us. We felt a little disrespected because we beat them last year and CHSAA and Basketball Colorado ranked them above us,” Justice said. “We knew we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder. I told the guys that we got to treat it like last year where it’s got to be an upset. We did and we came in here and took care of business.”

The Mavericks opened their season shooting white-hot, building up a 10-point lead, 15-5, with 2:35 left in the first quarter. The Golden Eagles systematically chipped away at that advantage as the half progressed, erasing it altogether on multiple occasions, thanks to sharp-shooting from Justice from way downtown.

Mills, recognizing his team needed a boost to shake off Frederick, jammed the ball into the net twice before the midway break. Frederick’s Jacob Lovins added a couple of dunks himself, one in each half. That rim’s going to be a little sore in the morning.

Mead led 35-32 at the half, knowing full well the last 16 minutes would be just as much of a battle. The teams continued to play point-for-point throughout the third quarter, but the Mavericks maintained a slight edge on the Golden Eagles.

At least, that is, until Aldana went off from behind the arc midway through the fourth quarter. When Justice exited the floor with a nasty leg cramp, Aldana stepped up to nail a few daggers and a pair of free throws.

“I’m getting anxious to get back in and Matias gets a big-time bucket, a layup, and then hits a big-time three,” Justice said. “He really stepped up in the moment and I really appreciate that. He’s a great player to play with.”

Justice reentered the game and immediately sank a floater from mid-range to extend Frederick’s advantage to 64-56 with just over three minutes remaining. Their defense and offense took care of the rest. Justice nailed the necessary free throws in the final minutes to dash Mead’s hopes of a comeback.

The Golden Eagles, looking to build upon their opening win, will return home on Tuesday to host Mountain View as Mead will head to Mountain View on Friday night looking for a little redemption.

“I think we learned a lot about ourselves tonight and the team that we are and us as individuals, so I think we’re just going to get better from here,” Mills, who recently transferred to Mead, said. “We just all love each other. We’re all friends. We just like playing together. We have fun together.”

Mead girls stave off a late scare from Frederick

The first game of the season can be a good litmus test to see where any team is at, but a rivalry takes it to the next level.

Prior to the boys game on Tuesday night, the ladies kicked off with a thriller of their own, as Frederick shook off an early deficit to close the contest to one-point, 36-35, in the final five minutes. Missed free throws down the stretch, however, handed the game to Mead in the 47-44 final.

Mead's Emmy Tecu goes up for a layup as Frederick's Megan Majeres tries to block her during their season-opening matchup at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.
Mead’s Emmy Tecu goes up for a layup as Frederick’s Megan Majeres tries to block her during their season-opening matchup at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.

The Mavericks, led by Charlotte Brennan’s nine points, seem to have adjusted well under head coach Michael Ward — who returned to the bench to replace J.R. Sagner. Sagner led them to the Class 4A state semifinals.

“Really, it was just the heart part, I think, for us because we’ve been working on that mental side of things. The skill is always there, but the mental side can be iffy,” Brennan said. “It honestly feels great, especially with the changes that have been made. I’m just really excited for our season.”

Even though the Golden Eagles fell short in the end, they took their lumps and will learn as they move forward into what they hope will be a strong first half of the season. Senior point guard Savanna Staff led the way with 11 points.

“I was just proud of our team, in general, because coming into the situation — first game, away against your rivals — you’re going to be nervous,” Staff said. “But I think we handled the pressure really well. And honestly, we settled in pretty fast. Our energy and our efforts throughout the game was pretty consistent. We didn’t like the outcome, but we can use it to fuel us.”

Frederick's Savanna Staff (No. 5) goes up for a midrange jumper as Mead's Darby Haley (No. 10) and Emmy Tecu (No. 33) try to stop her during their season-opening matchup at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.
Frederick’s Savanna Staff (No. 5) goes up for a midrange jumper as Mead’s Darby Haley (No. 10) and Emmy Tecu (No. 33) try to stop her during their season-opening matchup at Mead High School on Nov. 29, 2022.