By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The top-ranked Meade Buffaloes were on upset alert most of the night against the Southwestern Heights Mustangs but pulled away late to win 65-53.
The Buffaloes were on fire from beyond the arc in the first quarter, draining four threes in the game’s first six minutes as they built a 17-11 lead. Heights scored the final four of the first to make it a two-point game, 17-15.
Meade’s Trevin Weins hit three of them and finished the first quarter with 11 points.
Clayton Chase kept the Mustangs within striking distance with eight in the first quarter.
Ben Johnsrud hit his second three of the game with 4:08 left before half to cut Meade’s lead back to one, and Chase scored on a short jumper with 3:07 left to give Heights their first lead of the game, 24-23.
Chase scored seconds later to make the Mustang lead three, but the Buffaloes scored the final four of the quarter to go up 27-26 at half.
The third quarter started with Heights’ Nate Johnsrud and Meade’s Morgan Davis trading baskets as the lead changed hads four times.
Jett Little scored three times and Chris Hardaway hit a three, as Meade went ahead by six midway through the third.
Meade was able to add four threes in the second half to the five they made in the first. And Meade seemed to hit one each time Height began to make a cut into their lead.
Heights put the Buffaloes on the line at the end, and Meade made 5 of 8 to finish off the Mustangs.
“We tried a triangle and two defense,” Mustangs coach Nefro Saucedo said. “Last time Davis and Little had 22 and 18 so tried something different. The boys executed it well. Meade’s just loaded at every level, and they’re well coached. We did what we could and we’ll learn from it and move on.”
Clayton Chase finished with 24 points on 12 of 20 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. Ben Johnsrud made 3 of 7 from three-point range to score 11. Johnrud also had six assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Rogelio Martinez scored 8 points on 4 of 6 shooting.
Heights (10-8) will host Elkhart Friday.