BROOMFIELD — Mead girls basketball hasn’t met a team like Holy Family. Holy Family, likewise, hasn’t seen anyone like the Mavericks.
On Friday night, when Class 5A’s top-ranked team (Mead) visited Class 4A’s top dog (Holy Family), the two teams battled it out, as one might expect, before the gritty contest fell 49-42 in Holy Family’s favor to keep the Tigers unbeaten.
The Mavericks, however, gave them quite the scare when a 14-point lead midway through the fourth quarter very nearly evaporated by game’s end.
“There’s no quit in these girls,” Mead head coach Mike Ward said. “That’s the beautiful thing about it. There is not a single quit in these girls. They are not going to give in, which showed. We’re never out of it and that speaks volumes about them and their heart, their character. That says a lot. This game is going to make us better — a lot better — down the road. We’ll learn from it and we will get better.”
The Tigers relied on their height — read, Fiona Snashall — in the paint as her dominance on the glass gave them the extra chances they needed to take down a team as dangerous as Mead. The senior small forward led her girls with 11 points, most of which came from the free throw line, as junior shooting guard Julia Hodell matched her effort with 11 points of her own.
Mead’s senior point guard Kyra Haan came alive for her Mavericks with 17 points and sophomore shooting guard Darby Haley backed her up with another 10 points.
It was junior Jennifer Altshuler’s three big shots and eight points, however, that energized the Tigers at key points to help propel them past the Mavericks.
“I think it set us off for a good start,” Altshuler said. “When we get our first quarter going, we play well the rest of the game. It was great to get energized. It helped us with our defense. Julia had a bunch of steals. Fiona had a lot of blocks.”
The Tigers came out swinging in the first quarter, and the Mavericks couldn’t quite match the heat that they were throwing down. Holy Family, stunting Mead left and right, built up an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter before the Mavericks started to break through the ice.
Then Mead got hot.
The Mavericks spent much of the second quarter chipping away at Holy Family’s lead until, just a few seconds before the buzzer, Hodell hit one of those “how the heck did she make that?” reverse layups to end the half with a 22-18 Holy Family edge.
“I think we calmed down a little bit,” Haan said. “There were definitely some nerves before the game, so we sort of collected ourselves and were like, ‘OK, we can do this. We know how to play basketball. Let’s just stick to what we know.’”
The Tigers utilized a strong third quarter and first half of the fourth to balloon their advantage to 14 points, 40-26, with 4:41 left in the game, but the Mavericks weren’t going to go away that easily. Mead spent the next three minutes attacking the ball hard and decreasing the deficit to just six points, 43-37, before the Tigers were able to shut them down once and for all.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 12-0 and 5-0 in 6A/5A/4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference play, while the Mavericks dropped to 11-2 and 3-1 — their only other loss coming by one point. Now, Mead will face another tough opponent when it heads home to take on No. 7 Windsor on Tuesday. Holy Family will head to Greeley West on the same night.
“I was really happy defensively, because they’re averaging 60 points a game so I thought we scrambled them, and hustled,” Holy Family head coach Ron Rossi said. “They’re No. 1 in 5A and we’re No. 1 in 4A, so there was a little pride thing, and we’re kind of a little angry. We want to win our league championship — 15 straight. We want it back, so our kids were a little hungry.”
In the boys game that followed, between 4A No. 1 Holy Family and 5A No. 3 Mead, the two teams took it down to the wire as the Tigers took advantage of the Tuckered-out Mavericks, who had to play without their leading man in Tucker Mills. Holy Family won, 47-42.
Boulder Daily Camera
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