MANITOU SPRINGS — A packed house, a renewed rivalry and control of the Class 3A Tri-Peaks League. It was just another chapter in book of Manitou Springs versus St. Mary's.
Both teams entered Tuesday night's showdown unbeaten in league play, but it was only the Mustangs (17-0 overall, 8-0 Tri-Peaks League) who would leave that mark intact.
Manitou topped St. Mary's 77-53, cementing their place as the team to beat in the Colorado Springs and possibly all of 3A.
"We were No. 1 in preseason voting and when we dropped, it was when St. Mary's got beat by 15 against Pagosa," Manitou coach Jon Asp said. "We were up 30 at one point. We'll see if this statement means anything."
There were two key components behind the Mustangs impressive victory. They put immense pressure on the Pirates (15-2, 8-1) defensively and they hit them with a barrage of 3-pointers on the offensive end.
And when Manitou has a guard like Shelby Megyeri on their roster, they'll always have a fighting chance. It seemed like the junior couldn't miss as she buried five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 31 points.
Less than two weeks ago, she set the career scoring record for Manitou, breaking Amelia Shofield's mark of 1,025.
In what hopes to be a special season for the Mustangs, Megyeri has been nothing short of spectacular.
"It's been a lot of hard work and I have to thank my teammates too," Megeyri said. "They always push me to play better. We're such a good team, I wouldn't want to play with anyone else."
Even as solid as Megeryi's numbers were, the dominating win was anything but a one-woman show. Gala Jensen added 13 points and the Mustangs got 3-pointers from four different players on the roster. Those four player all also scored in double digits.
"We've been building each game, getting better and better each game," Asp said. "I told the girls that we play our best basketball against the best competition."
This is only the second loss for the Pirates, both which have come to CHSAANow.com's No. 1 and No. 2 teams in 3A.
But in order to come away with a league championship, the Pirates will need the Mustangs to drop two games, an unlikely scenario given that they have won by less than 10 points three times this season.
But the Pirates will power on. They got 11 points from senior Maggie Hartman, who has been a reliable and steady hand for St. Mary's coach Mike Burkett all season.
"We have some things we need to correct," he said. "We can do things better in the future and that's what we're going to try and work at."
As for the Mustangs, they know can still make improvements with the regular season ending in a week. But if Tuesday night is any indication, Manitou is going to be a draw in the 3A state tournament.
"We needed a little bit of time (to come together)," Asp said. "We had a slow start to our season. It takes us some time to get rolling, but I think we're right where we want to be."