Photo by James Parrish
The 2013 SPVA boys' basketball champions St. Pat's Irish.
Whenever North Platte St. Pat's needed a basket on Saturday in the South Platte Valley Association tournament finals, Mark Mayfield provided it.Mayfield scored 22 points, half of St. Pat's total in a 44-33 win over Imperial at the McDonald-Belton Gymnasium.
After helping his team win the SPVA for the second straight year, Mayfield gave the credit to his teammates.
"It was a total team effort," said the 6-foot-3 junior. "My teammates got me the ball when I was open. They did a good job of getting me open. They got me good shots."
Both teams got off to a relatively slow start and neither one pulled away from the other in the first half.
St. Pat's (13-2) had a lead of 22-17 at halftime.
Mayfield started to put his stamp on the game by scoring the first two baskets of the second half and stretching the Irish lead to nine.
"It was important for us to get the lead early," St. Pat's coach Bill O'Malley said. "That gave us a cushion and we got some confidence from that. It was important because (Imperial) made us earn everything in the half-court."
The Irish led 35-23 at the end of the third quarter and Mayfield made a three-pointer early in the fourth to make it a 15-point lead.
Imperial (6-10) made a rally and drew to within seven at 41-34. But Mayfield answered the bell again by getting a three-point play with a little under four minutes left.
"Mark was just very aggressive, offensively," said O'Malley. "He did a good job of attacking the lane."
Over the course of the next two minutes, St. Pat's held the Longhorns scoreless. The Irish extended their lead by a couple of points with Mayfield and Brandon Niesen making a free throw each to help close the game.
"We were able to get it up to double-figures in the second half," O'Malley said. "After that, it was a matter of getting the job done, defensively. I thought we had a let down in the middle of the second half when they got in the lane a couple of times. But after that, I thought our intensity was much better."
Mayfield said he was glad to have performed so well in helping his team with back-to-back conference titles.
"It felt good to get the seniors another SPVA title because it's the first time in school history it's been done," he said.
Imperial 10 7 6 10 - 33
St. Pat's 12 10 13 9 - 44
Imperial (33)-Travis Luhrs 5, Dan Sullivan 4, Jeffrey Dickey 2, Kelton Fisher 12, Trey Milner 4, Isaac Sorensen 6
St. Pat's (44)-Sean Keenan 5, Joe O'Malley 1, Brandon Niesen 1, Matthew Buhrman 2, Joseph Clinch 7, Alex Harms 6, Mark Mayfield 22
Free Throws: I 4-4, SP 13-24; Three Point Goals: I 1 (Luhrs), SP 1 (Mayfield)