Feb. 2—LONGMONT — Compared to some of the top teams in Mead's classification, even some of those offensive giants from its own past, the margin for error probably isn't as wide for the Mavericks, as some others, this winter.
They believe it's the "little things" that will allow them to keep pace with the best in the state. It was evident in Friday night's top-10 win over Silver Creek.
Matthew Angelo hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with a hand in his face with 3:37 remaining, Dominic McLawrence was a defensive stalwart that Raptors coach Bob Banning admitted was a problem, especially down the stretch, and the Coaches and Media poll's 5A No. 10 Mavericks beat No. 5 Silver Creek, 56-50.
Angelo finished with 15 points for Mead (14-5, 7-3 6A/5A/4A NCAC) as his contested 3 put the Mavericks up for good. He smiled and said he could still see the basket on his quick-trigger shot. "When it came off my hands, I could have told you it was in," he said.
McLawrence led a strong defensive close with a series of blocks and steals, helping keep the Raptors without a field goal for a stretch of 10 minutes in the second half.
All of it equaled a third straight win for the Mavs, following their disappointing, 54-29 loss at Longmont a week ago.
"I think there are a lot of really, really good teams in 5A, and when we play well and together, we're one of them," Mead coach Darin Reese said. "We took a huge, huge step forward tonight. Some of the things we did defensively, taking charges, and hitting free throws down the stretch ... I think they were recognizing how those little things impact the game and change the game."
Silver Creek (16-3, 8-2) led by as many as seven in the opening half, then went up 42-36 on a pair of free throws from Ashoka Surkhang with 5:35 remaining. Just couldn't close.
The Mavericks countered with a 15-1 spurt in the fourth to go up eight late. Luke Schmeeckle scored five of his game-high 16 in the final 53 seconds to trim the deficit to as few as five to make things interesting in the final 53 seconds. Mead, though, held on, going 9 of 12 from the free throw line over the final 1:18.
"We kind of just lost it emotionally mostly and we weren't all in it together," said senior Gabe Selby, who finished with 15 points. "We lost our motor and they went on a huge run and hit some big-time shots."
Mead is at Centaurus Wednesday, while Silver Creek is home against league-leading Windsor (14-4, 9-0).
Silver Creek girls getting better, but Mead girls win 10th straight
LONGMONT — The girls' hoops program at Silver Creek High School believes it's headed in the right direction. The blueprint for where it wants to go was up close Friday night.
The Raptors stuck around with Coaches and Media poll Class 5A No. 3 Mead into the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. But eventually the title-hungry Mavericks asserted themselves as the superior team, closing strong — something it'll need more of if it hopes to make a title run in the upcoming postseason — and winning, 56-35.
Izzy Spagnoletti led Silver Creek (8-10, 5-5 6A/5A/4A NCAC) with a game-high 14 points, which included a 7-for-7 performance from the line. Brielle Hickman had eight points, Lucy Waring six, while Avery White scored all five of hers with free throws, including a pair that got the Raptors within 10 — 39-29 — with 7:42 remaining.
Silver Creek finished 20 of 23 from the strike. Impressive, but not enough to overcome Mead, which won its 10th straight game.
"I think we're on the right trajectory," Silver Creek coach Katie Peterson said. "We're looking to play as a team. That's been our goal all season, and I think that's finally starting to click."
Behind a balanced scoring effort, the Mavericks (17-2, 10-0) kept a game lead on 4A defending champ Holy Family (16-1, 8-1) atop the NCAC standings with four games left on their regular-season slate. Mead rallied to beat the Tigers two weeks ago, and the two powers will meet again at Holy Family Feb. 9.
Wednesday, Mead is at Centaurus, while Silver Creek is home against 5A runner-up Windsor (11-7, 7-2). The Mavs and Tigers have both won at Windsor this month.
"We definitely need to just focus on the little things," Mead junior guard Darby Haley said. "Obviously, turnovers, just minimizing those. And just working hard every day."