The Mayer High basketball team had a rough start but ended strong at the 3-day, 18-team Bradshaw Mountain Holiday Hoops Classic tournament in Prescott Valley this past week.
In Monday's 8:25 a.m. game, the Cimarron Memorial Spartans, a 4A team from Las Vegas, Nev., (the state uses only 1-4A designations, unlike Arizona, which is 1-5A) overwhelmed the 1A Wildcats 107-34. But even though Mayer was by far the smallest school in the tourney, the Wildcats need not feel alone, as the Spartans basically blew away most of their tourney opponents - two 4A and three 5A teams - by an average of 10 points. The out-of-staters went undefeated until the tournament's championship game, ending as runnerup to 4A-II Palo Verde.
Monday's 6 p.m. contest saw the 'Cats defense growing stronger as Catalina (Tucson) defeated Mayer 63-26.
The dawn of a new day also meant the start of Mayer's comeback.
The Wildcats again took the floor at 8:25 a.m., but the outcome was different, as they felled 4A-I Marana 59-56.
Kingman, a 5A school, needed an overtime period to beat Mayer 63-61 that evening.
Payson, 3A, employed a full court press throughout the entirety of Wednesday's game for a 62-47 win over the Wildcats.
Mayer, behind 38-15 after two quarters, poured it on in the second half, despite Payson's punishing defense.