MEAD – The Mead Raider boys basketball team stayed in the county when it came to last week’s schedule.
The week started with a 50-19 victory over the Cedar Bluffs Wildcats on Jan. 5 at Cedar Bluffs High School.
The Raiders led 20-2 after eight minutes and cruised to the 31-point win with reserves finishing out the fourth quarter.
Mead led 34-6 at the half and 44-10 going into the fourth quarter.
6-3 junior AJ Carritt had his best game of the season, finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals.
6-2 freshman Emmett Couch also played well for the Raiders adding 10 points and five boards.
“We did a much better job of keeping the ball out of the paint, which was a focus for us on defense,” said Mead Coach P.J. Quinn.
The Raiders returned to the court on Jan. 8 when they welcomed the fourth-ranked Yutan Chieftains to town for a contest at Mead High School.
The game went down to the final seconds (literally) as Hunter Pickworth was able to seal the 55-53 victory for the home team with a game-winning 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to play.
The game was a hard-fought battle, as it always is between the two Saunders County rivals.
Mead jumped out to a 8-2 lead in the first quarter, before the Chieftains were able to close the gap to 14-9 after eight minutes.
The Raiders were able to maintain the lead throughout the first half, and took a 29-21 lead into halftime.
Yutan chipped away into the lead in the third quarter and the Raider lead was 39-37 going into the final eight minutes.
The game was in the balance throughout the entire fourth quarter and the Raiders found themselves behind 52-50 with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
The Chieftains made a FT and pushed the lead to 53-50.
The Raiders closed the gap to 53-52 with 21 seconds left after Bayley LaCroix scored on a pick-and-roll with Couch.
After a foul and two missed FT’s by the Chieftains, the Raiders pushed the ball up the floor and it ended up in the hands of Hunter Pickworth. He pulled up and
sank a 3-pointer from the right corner and Mead went up by two points.
The Chieftains got two opportunities to tie the game, but one was denied by Carritt and the other, a 12-footer off an inbounds play bounced off the rim.
Junior Tyler Pickworth had a monster game for the Raiders finishing with 15, but more important was his play on the defensive end of the floor while hounding two time all-state guard Brady Timm. Pickworth shaded Timm all over the court for 32 minutes and limited him to just 15 points.
“Defensively, I thought we did a really good job, especially in the half court. We turned the ball over too much, but Yutan caused a lot of that with their pressure defense in the second half. Other than our turnovers, we were very efficient on offense,” Quinn added.
Couch added 10 points for the Raiders and hit a key contested 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders a lead.
The win improved the Raiders record to 6-2 on the season.