Mead can’t withstand heat from Windsor
Mavericks suffer decisive loss in league title battle
For the second consecutive season, it was down to Mead and Windsor for the Northern League crown.
Mead, the defending league champs, entered Wednesday’s penultimate regular season contest just one game behind Windsor in the standings. The uphill battle proved too large for the No. 3 Mavericks, however, as they fell 76-40 to the No. 5 Wizards.
Head coach Darin Reese didn’t hesitate to take responsibility for Mead’s poor performance in a tough road environment.
“We’ve never played anything close to that,” Reese said. “It starts with me.”
With Mead (18-4, 10-3 6A/5A/4A) riding a seven-game winning streak and Windsor having won its previous 11, something had to give, and it gave early.
Windsor’s David Hageman took control from the opening tip, scoring his team’s first 11 points with the help of three 3-pointers. The senior, who recently scored his 1,000th career point, finished the half with five made 3s and 21 points.
“He’s tough,” Mavs junior Dominic Mclawrence said of Hageman. “If you close out too hard, he’s going to do a pull-up or get an easy layup. He’s one of those guys that will just hoop.”
Things unraveled at a quicker pace for Mead in the second quarter. Turnovers became an issue and when the Mavs were able to get a shot up, few found the bottom of the net. Mead managed only five points in the second quarter and entered halftime down a daunting 40-19.
“We just didn’t play as a team,” Mclawrence said. “It was all an individual show. We were trying to get our own instead of being together.”
Mead’s offense picked up in the third quarter, but its defense remained unable to contain the Hageman-led Wizards. Mclawrence scored seven of his 11 points and senior Nick Basson pitched in three.
Off the bench, junior Donovan Weese matched Mclawrence’s team-high mark of 11 points.
“We just got to be ready, be prepared next time,” Mclawrence said. “We’ll see them again, and we want to see them again.”
Despite the loss, Mead should remain suitable for a high seed in the Class 5A state playoffs,
which begin Feb. 22. The Mavericks will close their regular season at home on Friday vs. Greeley Central.
Reese remained confident that his Mavericks can bounce back in their regular season finale.
“This is in the past; we can go one or two ways with this,” Reese said. “I know how tough-minded our kids are, so I have a pretty good idea of where we’ll go from there. We’ll be ready to practice tomorrow and be ready for Greeley Central.”
In the preceding girls’ game, No. 5 Mead (17-5, 9-4 6A/5A/4A NCAC) gave No. 3 Windsor its first league loss in a 71-70 overtime thriller.