Photo by John Leyba


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Smoky Hill stands tall over Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Reality can appear at any time and it did for Mullen on Friday night.

The Mustangs ran into a much-taller, faster, quicker and probably more-polished Smoky Hill.

Sure, Mullen put up a fight and wouldn’t go away, but the Buffaloes earned a 67-57 decision at Hutchison Fieldhouse. It was Smoky Hill’s first Centennial League victory in four attempts. And it is 8-5 overall.

As for the Mustangs, it was their second straight league loss after beginning 2-0 and they are 6-5 overall.

“Does anyone think we don’t belong in this league?” first-year Mustangs coach Bob Caton asked his team afterward. “We belong. And we gave (the Buffaloes) a run.”

Mullen is going through the taxing process of re-establishing itself in the Centennial after winning just 10 games within the loop over the past eight seasons. The Mustangs were riding high on their 2-0 start, but missed multiple opportunities late in an overtime loss to Cherry Creek on Wednesday and had to battle back in the second half just to keep the score reasonable against the Buffaloes.

“It’s hard to match up against them, they’re so tall,” Caton said.

True. Will Becker is 6-foot-8, scored seven points blocked four shots and either changed or discouraged several others. John Harge also is 6-8, dunked regularly after halftime and scored a team-high 20 points. And Kenny Foster is 6-5, scored 18 points and may have been the best player on the floor. The Buffs also have Kyle Cabs, who’s 6-6, and Dasani Darnell, also 6-6.

“Yeah,” Mustangs junior guard Christian Davis said, “they’re pretty big … so, yeah, they killed us some on the boards a bit and on the inside. You can’t necessarily teach height.”

The Buffs led early and often, but Cinque Mason led a surge that got the Mustangs within 28-24 at half. Mason scored 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter.

However, Mullen’s matchup-and-turnover problems arose in the third quarter as Smoky Hill, which also defended very well, gradually began to pull away. Foster scored eight points in third quarter and Harge tallied 11 in the fourth quarter as the Buffs’ bulge crested at 19 points.

Both Caton and Davis, who led the team with 16 points, said they were pleased with the effort, a vital step in turning around a program.

Plus, Davis, said, “I think we’ve proven we belong in this league, contrary to what people thought in years prior. Mullen is no longer an easy win in this conference, not anymore.”

The Mustangs have a nonleague game on Saturday, 7 p.m., at Coronado in Colorado Springs.



Smoky Hill 14 14 18 21 – 67

Mullen 7 17 13 20 — 57

Smoky Hill – Rock 6 0-0 14, Harge 8 3-5 30, Becker 3 0-0 7, Foster 7 3-4 18, Cabs 0 2-2 2, Muwwakkil 1 0-0 3, Williams 1 1-2 3, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Mohan 0 0-0 0, Whitaker 0 0-0 0, Weaver 0 0-0 0, Darnell 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 9-13 67.

Mullen – Davis 3 7-7 16, Cito 3 2-2 9, Stitt 0 2-2 2, R. Parris 2 0-0 6, Riepma 4 1-4 9, Stransky 1 0-0 3, B. Parris 0 0-0 0, Veen 0 0-0 0, Mason 6 0-1 12, Keeley 0 0-0 0.  Totals 19 12-16 67.

3-pt. goals – Rock 2, Becker, Foster, Harge, Muwwakkil; Davis 3, R. Parris 2, Cito, Stransky. Technical foul -- Harge.

Mustangs wilt late, fall to Cherry Creek in OT

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

GREENWOOD VILLAGE – Mullen players came thisclose to creating a bit of history … and were kicking themselves afterward when they blew their chance.

The Mustangs had their surge halted, their fun temporarily stopped and their run snapped. They fell 77-76 to Cherry Creek in overtime on Wednesday night, a back-and-forth battle in which they led for much of the game, but came unglued a bit in the fourth quarter and extra session. Mullen was unable to protect the rim and lane, and missed 10 free throws after the third quarter.

Mullen dropped to 6-4 overall, 2-1 in league. It had won two games in a row and five-of-six. Plus, a victory would have matched the high point of their league output over eight seasons.

“We missed free throws,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. “And we had some of our better shooters on the line, so what are you going to do?”

For the game, the Mustangs were 25-of-40 at the free-throw line and they missed 10 after the third quarter. Seven-of-10 in overtime wasn’t good enough.

“We had our chances,” Caton said.

Junior Brady Parris said “yeah, (the Bruins) got some lucky rolls and we had some unlucky free-throw shooting, but I think they just wanted it more than we did.”

Behind Matt Veen, Connor Riepma, Cinque Mason and Reggie Parris, the Mustangs shook off a slow start, grabbed command in the second quarter and held the lead virtually until the talented Dimitri Stanley, signed to play football at the University of Colorado, got to the basket for a layup to tie it at 67 just seconds before regulation ended.

Into the extra session, Cherry Creek led in the opening seconds, but the Mustangs, behind Matt Cito, retook the lead and, like they did in the fourth quarter, employed their spread offense in search of layups and/or free throws. It worked for a lot of the fourth quarter, even for a bit in OT, including multiple passes by Veen and Reggie Parris for uncontested layups, but Mullen’s 18-of-28 free-throw shooting over the final 12 minutes wasn’t good enough. Cherry Creek (8-4, 2-1)  was 15-of-20 for the game.

In addition, the Mustangs didn’t handle Sebastian Cole, who made six 3-pointers – four in the fourth quarter – on the way to a game-high 25 points before he fouled out, and Stanley, who scored 18, seven in OT, seemed to be able to get to the rim upon will late.

The sting afterward carried some resilience, including with the Mustangs thinking about reaching new league heights for the first time in nearly a decade.

Brady Parris agreed: “These are the ones you want to play in. It didn’t go our way, but this is high-school varsity sports, two big rivalry schools … we had that talk in the locker room, had a great opportunity to make history. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. But we’ll have a good day of practice (Thursday) then get ready for the next game.”

Veen’s season-high 17 points paced Mullen. Reggie Parris and Cito added 12, Riepma had 11 and Christian Davis contributed 10.

Mullen will have a girl-boy doubleheader on Friday at home at Hutchison Fieldhouse against Smoky Hill beginning at 5:30 p.m.



Mullen          12 24 18 13 9 -- 76

Cherry Creek 17 15 18 20 10 -- 77

Mullen – Davis 4 0-0 10, Cito 1 10-13 12, Stitt 0 1-2 1, R. Parris 3 5-6 12, Riepma 5 1-4 11, Stransky 1 0-0 3, B. Parris 1 3-6 5, Veen 6 4-7 17, Mason 2 1-2 5. Totals 23 25-40 76.

Cherry Creek – Johnson 3 2-5 9, Stanley 7 3-4 18, Price 3 2-2 8, Cole 6 5-5 25, Mitchell 3 2-2 10, Pell 2 0-0 4. Penry 0 0-0 0, Hanlan 0 1-2 1, Wood 0 0-0 0, Purchase 0 0-0 0, Bryant 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 15-20 77.

3-pt. goals – Davis 2, R. Parris, Stransky, Veen; Cole 6, Mitchell 2, Johnson, Stanley. Fouled out – Cole.


Boys basketballers rocking, erasing previous lowlights with spirited play

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

As he stood on the floor of The Nest, Eaglecrest’s home court, and accepted a series of congratulations for a 64-54 Mullen victory over the Raptors, Mustangs head coach Bob Caton had a blunt comment.

What else would he rather be doing on a Saturday night?

“Better than staying home and watching ‘Lawrence Welk,’” Caton said, adding a little history to the mix in referring to the decades-old variety.

It was fitting. Mullen’s victory over the defending Class 5A state champion Raptors has been the highlight to date of a welcomed turn-around.

To wit:

--- Mullen moved to 6-3 overall, 2-0 in the Centennial. This is a program that had won only 10-of-98 league games over the previous seven seasons.

--- The Mustangs are 2-0 in the Centennial for the first time since the 2005-06 season, when they won their last state title.

--- The victory over the Raptors, who are now 5-5, 0-2, was Mullen’s first since 2012.

--- It’s Mullen’s first 2-0 Centennial start in six seasons.

“This is a great win for our program,” Caton said.

Indeed, these aren’t the Raptors of a year ago and are operating under a new coaching staff, but Caton and the Mustangs were eager to wave off any excuses or changes.

“They have a tradition here,” the coach said. “They have players on this team who were either playing or right behind players who were playing, so it’s a big win for us.”

Senior guard Nick Cito, who led the Mustangs with 17 points, said “it feels great, feels like we were making a statement. We’re not getting pushed around anymore. We can play with these guys day in, day out.”

Mullen had opened league play on Thursday with a 64-45 victory at Arapahoe and trailed the Raptors 14-4 early.

“But we stuck to the game plan,” Caton said. “Their shots were falling and ours weren’t. We didn’t panic and handled the adversity.”

Behind eight points in the second quarter by Vaughn Stitt and six in a row by suddenly hot Matt Veen, Mullen grabbed the lead, held it, protected it and built on it.  The Mustangs’ ball movement and shot selection were good, plus making necessary free throws sealed it. Cito’s 15 points over the final 8 minutes included a two-point field goal as well as 13-of-15 free throws.

“I’m comfortable there,” he said. “I love getting there.”

Defensively, the Mustangs kept the Raptors off the backboards reasonably well, limited their inside shots and frequently dared them to win the game from the perimeter.

All of it worked.

Eaglecrest twice got within three points in the final minutes, but Cito’s free-throw shooting, 3-of-4 by Christian Davis and Mullen’s willing defense iced it.

Stitt added 11 points and Connor Riepma 10. In addition, Davis, Brady Parris, Reggie Parris, Max Stransky, Veen and Cinque Mason each offered something to help the Mustangs, who think they have started to lay the necessary building blocks to becoming a challenger.

“We hope so,” Caton said. “We keep trying to get better every possession, every practice … it’s a long, long road and we have to take it one game at a time.”

Said Cito: “We just have to keep building on it and see where it takes us.”

The Mustangs resume play on Wednesday, their third consecutive away game to open the season, at Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village, 7 p.m.



Mullen 9 19 12 25 -- 64

Eaglecrest 18 4 4 11 – 54

Mullen – Davis 1 5-6 7, Cito 2 13-15 17, Stitt 4 0-0 11, R, Parris 2 0-0 5, Riepma 5 0-4 10, Stransky 1 0-0 2, B. Parris 1 1-2 4, Veen 3 0-0 6, Mason 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 19-27 64.

Eaglecrest – Houston 2 0-0 5, Ruckard 1 1-2 4, Bunn 5 6-7 19, Brown 5 0-3 10, Jackson 3 1-2 9, Robinson 1 0-0 2, Bile 0 0-0 0, Bokol 2 0-0 5, Talbott 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-14 54.

3-pt. goals – Stitt 3, B. Parris, R. Parris; Bunn 3, Jackson 2, Bokol, Houston, Ruckard. Fouled out – R. Parris; Jackson.


Mustangs show well, but still fall to Grandview

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Fittingly, it was a welcome-back-type of game.

It was the day after New Year’s Day. It was against some of the best competition Colorado has to offer on any level. It was against Grandview, ordinarily a Centennial League foe for Mullen, but it was nonleague as both programs needed a game to fill out their 23-game regular-season schedule. And it was two days before the Mustangs head into Class 5A league play.

Ultimately, Grandview, one of big schools’ top outfits, pulled away for an 82-69 victory at Hutchison Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. The Wolves, who clearly will be league contenders as well as a tough out once the playoff bracket rolls around in late February, are 8-1 and haven’t lost an in-state game. The Mustangs, who had won three games in succession, are 4-3.

Afterward, Mullen players as well as first-year head coach Bob Caton agreed on a mix of observations, everything from the same-old in terms of falling behind early, rallying, then fading late to feeling very good about their showing against one of the state’s top teams a day after mandatory holiday idleness.

“Absolutely,” Caton said when asked if he was pleased with his team’s effort as well as some of the results. “(The Wolves are) a very good team, about the best we have.”

Said Mustangs senior guard Nick Cito: “I think we held our own against a very good team. We didn’t go down; we kept coming back.”

Grandview raced to an assortment of early leads with unusually high efficiency, particularly after the holiday break, by singeing the nets on 10-of-13 field goals in the first quarter for a 23-11 lead that eventually crested at 28-13 early in the second quarter.

However, Mullen, which has found itself trailing early against the high end of its competition to date, shot back into it, literally, canning six of its 14 3-pointers. The Mustangs trailed 36-29 at half, but again rallied behind Reggie Parris, Vaughnn Stitt, Christian Davis and Cinque Mason.

It got better into the third quarter – a suddenly hot Max Stansky scored all of his 13 points in the quarter as Mullen twice cut the Wolves’ lead to three points, the last of which at 55-52.

But Grandview talented junior Dayne Prim and Levi Dombro grabbed command over the final eight minutes, combining for 18 of the Wolves’ final 21 points, 10 by Dombro, who was 3-for-3 from the floor and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.

And that was that.

Early turnovers hindered the Mustangs ... again.

“You know what -- take away those turnovers and we went in at halftime only down seven (points) ” Caton wondered. “We did the right things to get back into the game, but sometimes the things you did early haunt you.”

Cito said “I think we just have to take care of the ball more. We gave them too may easy baskets early.”

Mullen had some defensive lapses, Cito added, “but this one was a good one to come back to (after the break). It lets us know where we are and where we have to get to.”

Prim’s 27 points led all scorers. Senior Ben Boone contributed 12 as did Dombro, as coach Michael Rogers’ group was sharp and decisive when it mattered most.

Parris topped Mullen with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. In addition to Stransky, Stitt added 10 points, Davis nine and Mason seven.

Caton knows more of this will be awaiting his team as the Mustangs will open Centennial play on Thursday at Arapahoe. It’s here, he said. “and we got after it. We didn’t shy away and that’s what I told the kids. Yeah, we didn’t win the game, but we know we can be good.”


Grandview 23 13 25 21 – 82

Mullen 11 18 25 15 – 69

Grandview – McGill 2 3-3 7, Ramiro 3 0-0 7, Boone 4 3-4 12, Walker 3 2-2 9, Prim 11 5-7 27, Dombro 4 4-4 12, Turner 1 0-0 3, Unger 2 0-0 5. Totals 30 17-20 83.

Mullen – Davis 3 0-0 9, Cito 1 2-2 5, Stitt 2 4-6 10, R. Parris 6 0-1 17, Riepma 2 2-3 6, Stransky 4 2-2 13, B. Parris 1 0-0 2, Mason 3 1-1 7, Ondekane 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-15 69.

3-pt. goals – Boone, Ramiro, Turner, Unger, Walker; R. Parris 5, Davis 3, Stransky 3, Stitt 2, Cito. .

Mullen boys hit holiday break upbeat and 4-2

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Phase I is complete for Mullen. The Mustangs are entering the holiday break 4-2, on a three-game roll and playing well.

Their 69-24 victory over Westminster on Tuesday night at Hutchison Fieldhouse in Class 5A nonleague play was every bit the blowout it suggested and included permitting the now 0-10 Wolves only seven points after halftime and just three free throws over the final 8 minutes, as well as implementing the new running-clock rule (a difference of 35-or-more points in the fourth quarter).

Phase II will begin after Christmas with practice time before New Year’s Day, but first thing’s first, first-year Mullen head coach Bob Caton said.

“We’ll be practicing (Wednesday), then send them home and give them a break,” he said.

“But, yeah, I am pleased. The last three games we’ve shot it well – we didn’t shoot it that well tonight, but those shots were rimming in and out, and they had been falling for us … but (the Mustangs) are excited, they’re happy and they work hard.”

Junior guard Christian Davis concurred.

“Yeah, for sure, we’re real happy with our start, so far even in the tougher games we played; even in our losses, there has been something positive coming out of them,” said Davis, who led all scorers with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

This one was never in doubt. Caton substituted freely, 11 Mustangs scored and they worked on everything from ball movement to defense. Connor Riepma added 11 points.

But they know what awaits them in January. It will open with three games in five days. First will be a nonleaguer at home against Grandview on Jan. 2 – the Wolves will face the Mustangs three times, twice in league, as they are filling what had been an open spot – followed by consecutive road games to begin the league season, in Centennial at Arapahoe (Jan. 4) and defending state champion Eaglecrest, right on the Aurora/Centennial border (Jan. 6).

“We’re really excited to get to league play, see what we’re made of,” Davis said. “And I think we’re ready for league play. We’ll work hard in practice. League play is where we really need to improve.”

Over the past seven seasons, Mullen has limped to a 10-88 combined mark, easily the worst in the Centennial, and has grown weary of being an also-ran.

Caton is convinced a break, additional practice time and the momentum theylve bene able to generate in December can get the Mustangs back into the league mix. And the demanding beginning to January is just what they want.

“It’s a nice stretch to come back to,” he said. “Hey, it starts and it will be fun.”



Westminster 7 10 4 3 – 24

Mullen 21 20 19 9 – 69

Westminster – Villalobos 0 0-0 0, Lozoya 1 0-0 2, Caraveo 0 1-2 1, Abeyta 1 0-0 2, Alvarado 3 1-2 7, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Merjil 5 0-0 10, Benavidez 0 2-2 2, Harris 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 4-6 24.

Mullen – Davis 4 2-2 14, Cito 1 0-2 2, Stitt 0 2-2 2, B. Parris 2 0-0 6, Riepma 4 3-6 11, Stransky 1 0-0 2, Veen 4 1-2 9, Mason 3 2-2 8, B. Parris 1 0-0 3, Keeley 3 2-4 8, Ward 1 2-3 4, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Beckish 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 14-23 69.

3-pt.goals – Davis 4, R. Parris, B. Parris.


Boys hoops moves to 3-2, downs Thompson Valley

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In capping its Holiday Tournament the past Saturday, Mullen moved to 3-2 overall with a 77-58 nonleague victory in boys basketball over Class 4A Thompson Valley at Hutchison Fieldhouse.

The Mustangs moved to 3-2 on the season. The Loveland Eagles are 2-2.

Senior Nick Cito and junior Christian Davis each scored a game-high 17 points to lead Mullen, which has won two games in a row. Mullen’s 3-point shooting continues to be a factor – it was 13-of-29 from beyond the arc, headed by Cito, who was 3-of-5 and Davis (5-of-12).

The Mustangs also were able to overcome 10-of-25 shooting at the free throw line.

Matt Veen and Cinque Mason each had eight rebounds and Mullen was credited with 24 assists.

Mullen rolls Pomona, levels record at 2-2

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Through four games, Mullen has seen a lot of what basketball offers in terms of outcomes.

The Mustangs first had to fight to get past Abraham Lincoln. Next was a lopsided loss to Regis Jesuit even though the Mustangs nearly erased an 18-point deficit. On Tuesday, they couldn’t hit a shot down the stretch in falling to Douglas County.

And on Friday night, they could hardly miss in running past Pomona 89-65 at the Hutchison Fieldhouse in their Holiday Invitational Tournament.

Now 2-2 and al in nonleague, Mullen is starting to evolve, coach Bob Caton said, and a blowout victory can’t hurt.

“Oh, yeah,” said Caton, who returned to heading the team after a leg infection forced him to give way to assistant Chris Crosby last game. “It’s always good. I thought we played pretty good in the first half. We shot the ball well and our defense got better at times.”

Extremely well – Mullen made 14 3-pointers over the first three quarters. Particularly warm from the floor was senior Nick Cito, who had a career-high 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting and canning four 3-pointers.

“We bounced back,” Cito said of erasing a cold night from the floor against Douglas County. “Our team just got the ball working and that’s how we were working together and hitting them.”

In all, six Mustangs made 3-pointers, including three each from the Parrises, Brady and Reggie.

In addition, 11 Mustangs scored. They shot only 6-of-15 from the floor in the first quarter, but caught fire over the next 8 minutes, shooting 10=of-14 and building a 49-25 halftime lead.

Mullen’s largest bulge reached 29 in the third quarter, although it had some sloppy moments into the finish line and Caton saw all of them.

“It’s hard some times when you look at the scoreboard and it doesn’t matter if it’s a two-point game or 20 points,” the coach said. “It has taken a while, but we’re starting to do some of the things we do in practice.”

Said Cito: “We’re buying into coach Caton’s stuff, getting good looks, feeding the post ... I think we’re getting the hang of it better.”

Reggie Parris added 16 points and Christian Davis 10.

Mullen will meet Thompson Valley on 2 p.m. on Saturday and Pomona will take on Denver West at 3:30 p.m. to wrap up the tournament.

“Overall, I’m pleased with the way we played,” Caton said. “Now, it’s on to the next one.”



Pomona 8 17 17 23 – 65

Mullen 16 33 19 21 – 89

Pomona – Ross 3 3-3 9, Marquez 4 3-4 13, Clark 2 0-2 5, Baskin 0 2-3 2, Dorlean 2 0-4 4, Deasy 4 3-4 11, Tshimanga 2 1-2 6, Karas 1 0-0 2, Bishop 1 3-4 5, Geise 0 2-2 2, Stevens 2 0-0 5. Totals 21 18-29 65.

Mullen – Davis 3 2-2 10, Cito 8 5-5 25, Stitt 0 0-0 0, R, Parris 5 3-3 16, Riepma 3 1-2 7, B. Veen 3 1-2 8, Parris 3 0-0 9, Mason 3 0-2 6, Stransky 1 0-0 3, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Beckish 0 2-4 2, Thompson 0 1-2 1, Keeley 1 0-1 2. Totals 30 15-23 89.

3-pt. games – Marquez 2, Clark, Tshimanga; Cito 4, B. Parris 3, R. Parris 3, Davis 2, Stransky, Veen. Fouled out – Mason, Veen.

Mustangs can’t hang with Douglas County, fall 61-50

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen   Sports Information Specialist

CASTLE ROCK – Mullen resumed its boys basketball season on Tuesday night and not without a few oddities.

For one, it was the Mustangs’ first game in 10 days of the early season. For another, new head coach Bob Caton relinquished command of the team for the game – he had a leg infection and doctors urged him not to coach. So Chris Crosby, a longtime assistant of Caton’s and former player of the year in the 1990s, served as interim head man. And for another, it was Crosby’s second time subbing for Caton, who years ago had to miss a game while leading Highlands Ranch … and it also happened to be while their team was playing at Douglas County.

However, the similarities and irony ended with a 61-50 Mustangs’ setback to the host Huskies. Mullen dipped to 1-2 in the nonleague season; Douglas County won its fourth game in succession.

The Mustangs were in it into the game’s final minute, but it wasn’t enough. They had difficulty scoring late, but defensive problems, Crosby said, were more of a concern and are more easily fixed.

“We did,” Crosby said in acknowledging that his guys had numerous chances. “We got cold at the wrong time, in the fourth quarter, and (the Huskies) shot the ball real well tonight.”

Over the final 8 minutes, Mullen managed just eight points. Six were by the same player, Cinque Mason, who had another high-energy effort, and no other Mustang scored until Matt Veen made a follow-up just about at the buzzer.

Mullen made only 3-of-19 attempts from the floor in the fourth quarter. Conversely, in the second half, Douglas County, coached by former Nuggets guard Earl Boykins, made seven of its first 12 shots, needed only one field goal in the fourth quarter, and converted 11-of-12 free throws in the last stanza, 18-of-20 for the game.

Here’s where Crosby said the lack of defense became a problem.

“We’re at that point right now defensively where we have breakdowns and it shows up on the scoreboard,” he said. “We can’t do that.”

Changing their approach worked, he said, in that “we went to the zone and it was effective for a while, and we were able to make some plays on offense … but credit to Earl, they made some adjustments and we got back out of it.”

“The fourth quarter, it’s winning time and, unfortunately, not a lot was going in for us. I told the guys there will be nights where shots don’t go in, but the defense can’t have those nights.”

Ultimately, the Mustangs had no answers for Brendan Temple (game-high 20 points), Jordan Dunfee (14) and Kenneth Teague (10), who got most of Douglas County’s open looks that also included reasonable ball movement.

Vaughnn Stitt topped Mullen with 11 points and Mason had 10.

Mullen next sees action on Friday, when it will meet Pomona, 7 p.m., in its Holiday Classic at Hutchison Fieldhouse. After some shifting, Denver West and Thompson Valley also will be in the field.



Mullen 11 15 16  8 -- 50

Douglas County 16 11 21 13 -- 61

Mullen – Davis 2 0-0 4, Cito 3 0-0 8, Stitt 4 0-1 11, R. Parris 0 0-2 2, Riepma 4 1-2 9, Stransky 1 0-0 2, B. Parris 0 0-0 0, Veen 3 0-0 6, Mason 4 2-2 10. Totals 21 3-7 50.

Douglas County – Dunfee 5 2-2 14, Teague 4 2-2 10, Zadeh 1 0-0 3, Boykins 2 0-0 4, Temple 5 9-10 20, Howard 0 1-2 1, Burland 1 0-0 3, Ritchie 1 4-4 6. Totals 19 18-20 61.

3-pt. goals – Stitt 3, Cito 2, Dunfee 2, Burland, Temple, Zadeh.


Mustangs’ rally falls short, Regis Jesuit wins 71-57

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Almost … but not quite.

Mullen put up a fight, no doubt, but Regis Jesuit absorbed it and won going away. At a crowded Hutchison Fieldhouse, the Raiders outlasted the Mustangs 71-57 on Saturday night in Class 5A nonleague.

This one, like so many others in the long-running, parochial-school rivalry, was worth watching and had a classic pattern – Regis Jesuit, now 2-0 and expected to challenge for the Continental League title as well as the big-school crown, grabbed an early lead, held it into the second half, watched Mullen (1-1) roar and claw back to within two points, then gradually ran away and hid.

“They’ve been together for three years and we’ve been together for three weeks,” Mullen coach Bob Caton said of the difference in experience between the two teams.

“It takes a lot of energy to catch up that much. That group that was in there fought hard … and that’s a quality team we played.”

Actually, quality abounded. Caton has more than 500 victories. Raiders coach Ken Shaw is now 729-241 with five titles, so the leadership was there. So was the effort. Regis Jesuit, behind Elijah Martinez and the 6-foot-8 Matt Wheelock, rolled to a 36-18 halftime lead. The Mustangs were a step slow on defense and didn’t shoot it well, going three for their first 12.

However, late in the third quarter, Mullen made its move behind a wave of contributors, including Nick Cito, Christian Davis, Brady and Reggie Parris, Connor Riepma and Cinque Mason. The Mustangs first cut it to 46-41 after three quarters, then got within 50-48 on a four-point play by Cito with 6:16 to go. Caton substituted freely in desperate search for the right combination and it worked for a while.

But the Raiders calmly gathered themselves, gradually brought their lead back to double figures and used an eight-point binge to seal it.

“We had them within striking distance and just couldn’t pull it together,” Reggie Parris said. “Just too many mistakes early … we really dug ourselves a hole.”

Added Mason, who was active and effective inside: “I think we got tired at the end and stopped communicating on defense.”

Davis led Mullen with 20 points. But Martinez topped Regis Jesuit with 24 points, nine down the stretch, and the Mustangs ran out of answers, although they left a mark on Shaw.

“They made a nice run at it, give them a lot of credit,” he said. “Momentum in basketball does some strange things sometimes and give them a lot of credit, but our guys regrouped and built (the lead) back up. It’s a good learning experience for our guys that we can use.”

Mullen will be idle for a 10-day span. The Mustangs won’t play again until Dec. 12, when they will meet Douglas County in Castle Rock in another nonleaguer.



Regis Jesuit 23 13 10 25 – 71

Mullen 9 9 23 16 – 57

Regis Jesuit – Safieddene 3 5-7 12, Bannec 5 4-4 14, Egloff 0 4-6 4, Martinez 9 1-2 24, Carr 0 0-0 0, Wheelock 5 0-0 13, Tuitelle 2 0-1 4, Cunningham 0 0-0 0, Song 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 14-20 71.

Mullen – Davis 5 6-6 20, Cito 1 1-1 4, Veen 0 0-2 0, R. Parris 3 0-0 7, Riepma 3 1-2 7, Stransky 0 0-0 0, B. Parris 3 0-0 8, Stitt  1 0-0 2, Mason 3 1-2 7, Ondekane 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Keeley 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 9-13 57.

3-pt. goals – Martinez 5, Whitlock 3, Safieddine; Davis 3, B. Parris 2, Cito.


Smashing debut, Mullen outlasts Lancers 85-79

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

For starters, it proved very interesting.

Count the ways. Mullen actually began its season leading 2-0 before the first second went off the clock as Abraham Lincoln was whistled for a technical foul for dunking during warmups, a prep no-no. It was the debut with the Mustangs for a veteran coach. There were a combined 51 personal fouls, yet play was relatively turnover-free. And several finger nails were chewed in the final minutes ... on both sides.

As it was, the Mustangs got the Bob Caton era off to a rousing start, taking down the visiting Denver Prep League Lancers 85-79 on Wednesday night at the Hutchison Fieldhouse in Class 5A nonleague, a victorious season debut for a program that needed it. Mullen, fighting for its first winning record in 10 years, had to tough it out late against nearby Lancers, who closed to one possession in the final seconds.

But late free-throw shooting, which erased a problem earlier in the game, sealed it and Mullen will take its 1-0 record into Saturday night’s meeting with parochial-rival Regis Jesuit.

“It’s great for the kids, great for the program and the kids were so excited,” Caton said after coaching his first game following a couple of years on hiatus.

Asked if he was as nervous as he ever was, Caton admitted to looking back more than four decades and remembered the same shaky stomach when he first entered the coaching ranks.

However, for most of three and one-half quarters, things were in order for the Mustangs. Aside from making only 4-of-12 free throws, the Mustangs had it going. Junior Christian Davis was drilling 3-pointers, Connor Riepma, another junior, was smoothly scoring inside with either hand and rebounding, and Caton’s bench appeared deep as Mullen built a double-figure lead through several contributions.

Even into the final minutes, when the Mustangs twice had their lead cut to four points, they managed to keep it in order. “We did enough,” Caton said.

Mullen converted 14 of its final 19 free throws, headed by senior Nick Cito and junior Brady Parris. Plus, Davis made a couple of 3-pointers and Riepma scored inside twice.

It turned out they needed all of those plays as the Lancers, behind talented sophomore Ty Foster, refused to go away.

Caton acknowledged that Mullen had its chances to run away and hide, “but we made some silly mistakes.” Still, he said, “It was a good start.”

Riepma, who contributed 16 points and nine rebounds said he “was just playing to my strengths, whatever the defense was giving me.”

Davis, who scored 18 of his game-high 28 points after halftime, said “I was locked in, my teammates were finding me coming off screens and they were open shots.”

And the change in leadership, he added, helps in that “our whole mindset is different this year with a new coach coming in … and we’d like to get some banners of our own in here, not 2006 (the last time a Mullen team won the big-school title). We’re trying to turn it around.”

Cito added 12 points.

Wednesday was a start and a victory on Saturday against the always good Raiders is the next goal.

“We’re excited and, hopefully, ready for this one,” Davis said.



Abraham Lincoln 21 13 18 27 -- 79

Mullen 17 22 20 26 -- 85

Abraham Lincoln – Serrano 1 0-0 2, Robins 3 0-0 6, Foster 5 14-18 24, Perez 4 1-1 10, Bamba 5 8-9 18, Brown 3 1-1 8, Ditopile 3 0-0 8, Romero 1 1-2 3, Nguyen 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 25-31 70

Mullen – Davis 7 7-8 28, Cito 3 5-7 12, Veen 3 0-4 6, R. Parris 1 2-4 5, Riepma 6 4-7 16, Mason 3 0-0 6, B. Parris 1 4-4 6, Stransky 2 0-0 4, Stitt 1 0-2 2. Totals 27 22-36 85.

3-pt. goals – Ditopile 2, Brown, Perez; Davis 7, Cito, R. Parris. Total fouls – Abraham Lincoln 28, Mullen 23. Fouled out – Brown; Mason, Riepma, Veen. Technicals – Bamba.

New hoops staff full of experience, success and optimism

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sport Information Specialist

Bob Caton loves coaching basketball and being in command, but he may enjoy the help he gets even more.

His staff seems to underline it.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’ve always tried to surround myself with good coaches, the best we can get, and I think that makes everything better.”

Consider the group that Caton brings with him in his first season leading Mullen.

Go up and down the list. Quality and experience abound, as does the ability to reach and handle players in this or any other era. And most have been with Caton for years.

Of the varsity assistants, Arlandus Lowe headed Overland for years, helped the Trailblazers finish runners-up in 1990, and has a calm, easy delivery. When he speaks, players listen.

Chris Crosby was a fabulous player at Chatfield in the mid-1990s, starred at Washington State and played professionally in several countries. Not only could he play, but he knows how to tell others how to play.

Rob Caton, an all-Denver Prep League player, has a unique ability to act as a buffer between coach and player, and his presence is welcomed.

Mark Quinn, also an all-city player, heads the junior varsity. He counts experience with Bill Hanzlik’s Gold Crown Foundation. Sophomore coach Tom Tesone was an outstanding football player into college and has demonstrated the ability to coach multiple sports.

Freshman coach Mike Augustine was successful on the junior-college level and at Bishop Machebeuf. CSU-Pueblo student DeVon Miller will be coming on in December. And the likes of Domonic Martinez, Ray Valdez and Gary Rhoades were all outstanding players. Plus, Brian Davis to the mix.

All told, Caton and his staff may have the combined credentials to match any other schools’ in the state.

“Think of all the credibility they have,” Caton said of his assistants. “And I think it helps to have young guys mixed with the old guys. They all have strengths to offer the program.”


Caton era begins for boys hoops on Nov. 29

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sport Information Specialist

He played the game for as long as he could, into college, and has coached on the schoolboy level for 43 years.

He was away from his beloved basketball for the past two seasons, but did you really think it would last?

For the record, it didn’t.

So Bob Caton is back, heading Mullen and ready for his first game in a new setting.

Forgive him if he acts like this is his first gig.

“It’s fun to be back in it,” Caton said. “I had the kids in the summer, got to know a lot of them, see what strengths they had, who they are … my impression was they’re a good group and a great group to coach.”

Niceties aside, the veteran knows lots of work needs to be done for the Mustangs to rejoin big-schools’ elite.

“They haven’t done well over the last few years, we know that, but I think some of them can step up,” Caton said.

They’ll have to – a proud Mullen, after winning championships in 2001 and 2006, has suffered, gone through multiple coaches and fallen into the lower depths of Class 5A. In fact, the Mustangs haven’t had a winning record since going 17-9 in the 2007-08 season and won only 10 Centennial League games over the past seven seasons, going 10-88.

Basically, Caton’s guys will start over from scratch and they have only three returnees, senior guard Nick Cito, senior Reggie Parris, last season's top returning scorer, and 6-foot-6 junior Connor Riepma. Initially, Parris wasn't going to play, as he signed to pitch at San Diego, but told Caton that he simply would miss it too much. Consider it a boost.

Ideally, Caton said, contributions also will come from 6-2 senior Max Stansky, 6-4 junior Matt Veen, 5-10 junior Brady Parris, 6-foot junior Christian Davis and 6-5 senior Cinque Mason. In addition, there’s Isaac Ondekane, a 6-8, 290-pound sophomore, transfer Joe Libby, Vaughnn Stitt, DiAllo Thompson and Jake Beckish. Plus, the program got a boost when the gifted Adrian Jackson (6-4), who will play football at Oregon next season, decided to join the team.

“We’re hoping some of these seniors can step up and I think they can, as well as some of the other kids,” Caton said.

Concerning scheduling, in the second go-round of a two-year cycle, the Mustangs will open by hosting Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 29. Other highlights include: home against rival Regis Jesuit on Dec. 2; a home tournament that will include Pomona, Douglas County, Hinkley and Thompson Valley Dec. 12-16; a three-game set with Aurora’s Grandview (one nonleague, two in league) as Pueblo West dropped a meeting with the Mustangs; and the beginning of the always demanding Centennial (Jan. 4 at Arapahoe) that will again feature home-and-away games.

Caton said he hopes to change the schedule for enxt season and include more Denver Prep teams.

The regular season will be completed on Feb. 17 and the 5A bracket will be released on Feb. 18.

“We’re looking forward to the season,” Caton said.


Boys basketballers to host Chipotle fundraiser

Mullen’s boys basketball will be having a fundraiser on Tuesday.

The Mustangs are inviting you to make a dinner a selfless act by frequenting the Chipotle at 3170 S. Wadsworth Blvd. in Lakewood between 4-8 p.m.

Show the Chipotle flyer – “School Spirit Tastes Great” – or display it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you’re supporting the boys basketball team to ensure that 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Mullen boys basketball team.

--- Neil H. Devlin


Information for opening day of boys hoops

Calling all basketballers …

All interested players are invited to come to the first practice on Friday, Nov. 10.

Below are sites and times:

Seniors, juniors and sophomores from 10 a.m.-noon in the Hutchison Fieldhouse and freshman from 2-4 p.m. in the Old Gym; selected upperclassmen will practice again from 2-4 p.m.

On Saturday, freshman will be in the Old Gym from 9-11 a.m. and all upperclassmen will be in  Hutchison from 9 a.m.-noon.

Any questions, please contact head freshman coach Mike Augustine or head varsity coach Bob Caton.
--- Neil H. Devlin


Basketballers run to help Kaiser Elementary’s fundraising 5k

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It’s no secret Bob Caton, a familiar Denver schoolboy figure for decades, is excited about taking over Mullen boys basketball.

And it includes all that comes with it, notably serving the community through the team. The commitment was noted recently when the Mustangs took part in a fundraiser at nearby Kaiser Elementary.

Caton credited Holly Riepma, mother of Connor Riepma, a 6-foot-6 junior, for her connection to the school and not only helping to implement the idea, but enhancing it.

Kaiser personnel hosted a 5k (3.1-mile) run and Mustangs basketballers embraced it.

“At first, we were just going to come over and volunteer, maybe pass out a few things,” Caton said, “but we decided to run with the elementary-school kids and we got to know some of them. Connor’s mom brought it up to us and she had a connection with the school.”

Said Holly Riepma: “My cousin is a parent there and we were trying to get the boys in some community service. We talked about it and centered around maybe something with a homeless shelter … but my cousin was looking for volunteers to help with the 5k. Our coach heard about it and wanted them to participate in the fun run.”

Riepma, who starred in basketball at Green Mountain in Lakewood before a hall-of-fame career at Metro State – as Holly Roberts she’s the only Roadrunner to surpass 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds as well as to have her jersey (No. 50) retired -- said several parents volunteered, the booster club paid the fees and another connection to the community was secured.

“They were trying to help their technology program and reading program, and have some parents come in and read,” Riepma said. “The (Kaiser school administration) and students were very appreciative. It was fun. The coach was very supportive, the kids participated and it was great.”

Caton said ”these are the types of things we do at Mullen, go out to serve the community.”

And it won’t be the last time Kaiser sees Mustangs helping its school and student body.

“The coach wants to do it every year,” Riepma said.

Long Time Coach Bob Caton 
Named Mullen Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Bob Caton admitted it. Like so many others before him, he had the itch to return to coaching boys basketball.  He’ll scratch it with Mullen, as the longtime Denver-metropolitan figure has been named head coach of the Mustangs.

“The position opened up and, you know, I wanted to get back into coaching, and this worked out great,” Canton said. He has been on the city-area sidelines for 43 years, 37 as a head coach, and earned 505 victories in a career that dates back to the 1970s.

Athletic director Vince Massey called it an important move for the Mustangs.  “Oh, man, Bob’s a legend and his reputation speaks for itself,” Massey said. “He has over 500 wins and he’s a relationship builder. What I’m really excited about is he has worked with a lot of different athletes on a lot of different levels. And I’m excited to see how he works in our community and brings exposure and wins to us.”

The Mustangs sought help after the 2009-10 season, and since then have gone through three other coaches, including three over three seasons. And Caton is well aware of the recent history. The program hasn’t had a winning overall record since the 2007-08 season and is 10-88 in the always demanding Centennial League since 2010-11, with just five league victories over the past five seasons.

“I think there will always be a certain degree of talent here,” Caton said, “and you try to get the best out of them. I try to put players into position to be successful. What they do well, I will put them into that position. And it has always been a good league.”

Caton’s teams have finished state runners-up twice, made six final fours, 14 Great 8s and won seven league titles. He has coached at Manual, Denver West, George Washington, Aurora Central and Highlands Ranch. He also has been active in basketball on other levels, served as a scout for the Indiana Pacers and was a star player at Denver West and Colorado State.

“The most-important thing to me,” Massey added, “is how he builds those relationships with kids ... I’ve seen him interact with a couple of kids already and the way he approaches them and the looks on their faces and the way he talks to them just tickles me pink.”

Caton said he’s looking forward to building his staff and setting up summer camps. He said he resides close enough to ride his bicycle to the Mullen campus and is eager to begin.

“It’s a special school,” he said. “You get kids that are self-motivated, it has always been that type of school. The kids are going to work hard and that’s just the way the school and community feels around there, a Lasallian-based school.

“It’s a good place to be.”

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Arlandus Lowe
Chris Crosby
Rob Caton

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Sophomore Coach
Tom Tesone

Freshman Coaches
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DeVon Miller

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