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Money's Wurth: Mead senior has a career night; Mead girls beat Longmont in hoops

Jan. 5—LONGMONT — Mead senior Gianna Wurth spent the winter break playing five-on-five at the local rec center. The guys she played asked if it was OK to use a men's basketball, and she had no problem with it.

"Anything to help improve my game," she said.

Back to the smaller women's ball Friday night, the rim might as well have been an Olympic-sized pool for Wurth. She hit five 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points before sitting for much of the fourth quarter in the Mavericks' 68-38 win over Longmont.

"It was more just mental," Wurth said of her night, surpassing her previous high of 14 points. "This is what I wanted for my senior year to look like. As the only senior on the team, I wanted to lead the team. So, every day I was in the gym. After practice I was in the gym."

Both teams playing in their first game in more than two weeks due to the holidays, perhaps someone forgot to tell Wurth about the rust that usually follows a long layover. The senior showed "confidence through the roof," as described by her coach, Mike Ward.

The same no-hesitation release seen by some of the great shooters in the game, she finished her 13-point third quarter with successive 3s. The final one — nothing but net — thwarted a mini run from Longmont and pushed the lead back to 16, sending Class 5A No. 1 Mead (8-2, 1-0 6A/5A/4A NCAC) to its eighth straight win over the Trojans (6-3, 0-1).

"I was able to hit all those 3s because my team passed me the ball," Wurth said. "That really shows us as a team. We trust each other. We're willing to give each other the ball and we have confidence in each other that they're going to hit those 3s. Tonight it was me. Tomorrow it will be anyone else."

Mead's offense wasn't pristine early on — Ward called it a bit of "out of control intensity" — but it was more than good enough to stay in control throughout the opening half.

Wurth hit two of her team's five 3s before the break to lead the Mavericks to a 31-17 lead. Their defense forced several turnovers, and perhaps most important of all limited the touches for Longmont's star forward, Savannah Pohl, especially inside the paint.

"I do take it as respect," Pohl smiled. She is headed to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, a top-tier Division-III program.

Following a hoop around two defenders for Pohl, who finished with 13 points, Lexi Van Dyke answered with an uncontested 3 in the waning seconds of the half.

Out of the break, Wurth scored a quick five points to head a 9-0 run, pushing the lead to 20. Longmont cut things to 12 on a 10-2 spurt led by Kaila Patterson, who also finished with 13. But Wurth's response from deep and an 11-0 run through the start of the fourth put things away.

"We competed really hard knowing we were playing the No. 1 team. We came out with great energy and effort," Longmont coach Wade Kingsbury said. He credited Mead as a "legitimate, 'try to make the Final Four' type team. They play really hard and fast, and for each other. I appreciate that and respect that."

The Trojans' road doesn't get much easier in their early 2024 schedule. They travel to 2023 runner-up Windsor Wednesday, while Mead, which also got 10 points from Darby Haley in the win, is home against Greeley West.

Boys basketball: Mead's D leads way in win over Longmont

LONGMONT — Mead's offense wasn't great Friday night. At least by its standards.

Coach Darin Reese credited Longmont's defense. A near three-week break from game action probably didn't help either team's cause, either.

The Mavericks got 13 points from breakout star Matthew Angelo in their return from the holidays, and used a stifling defensive performance in the second half to beat the Trojans 45-33.

"I feel like everyone would like scoring 80 more," Angelo said with a laugh. "It's just more fun that way. But with games like this, it just depends on the flow of the game, how it starts and ends. Our defense against Longmont in the second half got much better."

In that second half, the Mavericks (7-2, 1-0 6A/5A/4A NCAC) allowed only three field goals to Longmont (7-3, 0-1). They held the Trojans scoreless over a span of 5 minutes and 50 seconds, pushing their lead to 36-24 midway through the fourth quarter, all but sealing its fourth straight win over Longmont.

The Trojans didn't make their third bucket after the break until Dominic Lombrano's 3 with 2:44 remaining.

"Only scoring three buckets in the second half, it's going to be tough winning ball games," said Longmont coach Jeff Kloster, whose team was again without starters Cole Corner and Joey Foot. Neither is expected back soon, he added. "Bottom line is we have to continue to trust the process. We believe in our boys and we're going to continue to get better."

Angelo scored seven straight to start the fourth, giving Mead the first double-digit lead of the game.

The junior was a nice contributor for the Mavericks last season as they reached the quarterfinals. This winter, he is leading the 5A No. 8 team in scoring (15.4 PPG).

"He's put a ton of work in, is dynamic with the basketball and plays both ends of the floor," Reese said. "He and Dom McLawrence, especially on the offensive end, are who we're going to rely on. And we have other guys who are going to make plays, too."

Averey Baucom added nine points for the Mavs, while McLawrence and Lukas Glasgow each had eight.

Lombrano led the Trojans with 13, followed by Suge Valles with eight and Levi Scheck six. Cole Gaddis, who has been playing since the start of the winter season despite suffering a laceration to his kidney during football in late October, had three.

Neither team shot the ball well on this night. From anywhere. Longmont was 3 of 11 from the free throw line in the first half and finished 11 for 20. Mead was 9 of 14 from the line but finished with less than 50 points for just the second time this year.

"We definitely experience some struggles on the offensive side of the ball," Gaddis said. "Our coaches preach long possessions and taking your time and finding layups. Sometimes we get out of those sorts of rhythms on our own. That's probably the biggest adjustment we need to make."

Longmont is at Windsor Wednesday. The Wizards knocked the Trojans out of the quarterfinals a year ago. Mead is home against Greeley West.