Photo by John Leyba


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Caton, Mustangs celebrate recent boys hoops season

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Bob Caton capped his first season as Mullen head boys basketball coach in style on Sunday night.

The Mustangs had their annual end-of-season banquet and the veteran in-state coach brought back some history.

Caton doled out individual-player awards in the name of the late Charles Christian, a former Mullen coach and key figure in East Denver who also had two sons play for the Mustangs.

“I wanted to bring it back,” Caton said.

Senior Cinque Mason was presented with the Charles Christian Most Improved Award. Senior Nick Cito was given the Charles Christian Most Outstanding Player Award. And Cito and Reggie Parris doubled as Charles Christian Captains.

“I made all of the awards in Charles’ name,” Caton said. “He meant a lot to a lot of people, including here at Mullen.”

Christian’s two sons, Dean and Michael, are Mullen alumni and Christian’s widow spoke at the banquet, as did former Mustangs three-sport star Vincent White (also recently named as new Mullen football coach), held at the Lakewood Country Club.

“Both (Dean, who went on to the Air Force Academy, and Michael, who moved on to Tulane) worked hard on grades and that message,” Caton said. “It was really great.”

In addition, J.P. Leyba, a family friend and popular special-needs student at Highlands Ranch, was presented with a Mullen letter and letter jacket for serving as team manager.

Caton and his staff helped turn around the Mustangs, who had struggled throughout the decade. They finished 11-14 overall, 4-10 in the Centennial League.

In all, Mullen won its first playoff game since 2014; had its most victories in a season since also winning 11 in 2009-10; had its most league victories since finishing 7-7 in 2009-10 (the Mustangs were a lowly 10-88 over a seven-season stretch); earned its first league home-and-away sweep since 2009-10 (it won at home and in Centennial against Eaglecrest); and earned its first season with double-figure victories since 2011-12, when it won 10.

Boys end turnaround season with 2nd-round loss at Overland

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – It ended for Mullen boys basketball on Saturday in the Class 5A playoffs, a road loss to Centennial League champion Overland by 66-57 in the second round.

Funny thing – the final was and wasn’t a virtual mirror of the Mustangs’ situation.

On one hand, the Mustangs who finished 11-14, erased a 22-point lead and got within single digits of the obviously more-gifted Trailblazers, certainly a sign of refusing to quit, playing until the final whistle and punctuating what must be regarded as a turn-around season; on the other, Mullen is still facing reality and simply didn’t have enough to erase a poor first half laced with turnovers and the inability to keep Overland away from the basket.

But either way, Mullen left the floor feeling sweet as well as bittersweet, both looking back and peeking toward the future.

“High-school basketball is just the best thing, just the atmosphere,” senior guard Nick Cito said. Headed to Concordia, Neb., for next season, he added: “I think we turned around the program for the better,”

Another senior, Reggie Parris, one of six the Mustangs will lose for next season, initially said he wasn’t going to play as a 12th-grader, but quickly changed his mind after signing to play baseball at San Duego. And he’s glad that he did.

“We turned it around, 100 percent,” Parris said.

Mullen’s 11 victories were its most since the 2009-10 season (it was 11-12). Winning four times in league also were its most since that same season, when it was 7-7. In fact, the Mustangs had been a lowly 10-88 in league over the previous seven seasons and only won four Centennial games from 2013-17. And the Mustangs beat Fossil Ridge on Wednesday, their first postseason victory since 2014.

“It felt good to do this,” Parris said, and he would know – he’s due to get four wisdom teeth removed on Monday.

Concerning veteran coach Bob Caton, in his first season heading the Mustangs, he said “we just didn’t play well the first half, we made some bad decisions. Same plays against Fossil Ridge, same play, just make the same pass, but sometimes players put a little too much on who their opponents are. It happens.”

Mullen managed just single-digit scoring in each of the first two quarters in falling behind 35-15. Unusually bad passing, as Caton pointed out, led to a rash of turnovers. In addition, Overland (15-9 and headed to the Sweet 16) made 10 of its first 13 shots, enjoyed second chances and coach Danny Fisher’s demanding defense created problems.

Caton admitted he had to have a loud talking-to with his team at half, and it seemed to work as the Mustangs, who eventually fell behind by 22 points and were dunked on seven times, rose to 42 points over the final 24 minutes. They got to within nine points of Overland before running out of time.

However, they ultimately had too big of a hole to climb out of against the Trailblazers, who beat the Mustangs three times in 2017-18. Mullen also lost three times to Grandview. Both Aurora teams are among 5A’s best.

“We didn’t have a good first half,” Parris said. “But we didn’t quit and we showed what we could do.”

Junior Christian Davis topped Mullen with 17 points and Cinque Mason, the Mustangs’ most-consistent inside presence who’s a senior, added 13.

Caton already is looking toward next season.

“We are pleased with what we’ve been able to do,” he said. “These kids in this locker room, they felt bad about losing and that’s a good sign. They wouldn’t give up.

“We are pleased, it was a good group of kids, but we have to work hard and do better. You don’t get better just because you’re older.”



Mullen 8 7 18 24 – 57

Overland 15 20 15 16 – 66

Mullen – Davis 6 2-2 17, Cito 2 1-2 5, Ondekane 0 0-2 0, R. Parris 3 0-0 7, Mason 5 3-3 13, Riepma 0 2-4 2, Veen 2 3-3 7, Stransky 0 0-0 0, B. Parris 3 0-0 6, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 11-16 57.

Overland – Smith 3 2-5 9, Redding 7 2-4 19, Hayes 3 0-0 6, Wang 1 3-4 5, Oke 8 1-1 17, Rice 2 2-2 6, Avila 0 0-0 0, Swanson 0 2-2 2, Benyoucef 0 0-0 0, Ike 1 0-0 2, Chaney 0 0-0 0, Deden 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 12-22 66.

3-pt. goals – Davis 3, R. Parris; Redding 3, Smith.

Mustangs roll Fossil Ridge, Overland next in 5A playoffs

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

FORT COLLINS – It was decisive, much-needed and included an additional step in program reemergence.

Mullen, the 40th seed, rolled host and No. 25 seed Fossil Ridge 65-38 on Wednesday night in the first round of Colorado’s Class 5A playoffs. It was Mullen’s first playoff victory and first on the road since beating Columbine 65-62 in 2014. Plus, the Mustangs now have their most victories in a season since going 11-12 in 2009-10.

Now 11-13, the Mustangs also snapped a five-game losing skid and are headed to the second round. They will be at Overland in Aurora on Saturday, 3 p.m. The Trailblazers won the Centennial League and Mullen was drubbed by them twice, 62-42 at home at Hutchison Fieldhouse and 65-41 at Overland.

So pardon coach Bob Caton and the Mustangs for their excitement.

“It’s good for the program, we needed it,” Caton said. “A big win for these kids … it has been so long since they won a playoff game.”

The Mustangs grabbed control in the second quarter and held it. Fossil Ridge, which ended 12-12, managed a basket to get within 16-15, then Mullen scored the next 17 points to take a commanding lead.

A wave of defense that resulted in steals and blocked shots were the main sparks as was hot shooting from the outside by Christian Davis as well as inside scoring by Connor Riepma. Davis, a junior, led all scorers with 25 points, including five 3-pointers. Twelve of his points came in the first half and 11 more followed in the third quarter as the Mustangs’ bulge eventually topped at 30 points. Riepma, another junior, had all of his 10 through three quarters.

“Yeah, I felt pretty good in warmups,” Davis said. “During the game, I was getting to open spots and my teammates were getting me the ball and getting me open shots. All of the credit goes to them, to be honest.”

Brady and Reggie Parris, Cinque Mason, Nick Cito and Vaughnn Stitt also led the high end of contributions.

“We played great team defense,” Caton said. “We were jumping into lanes and making steals.”

The SaberCats, always well-coached by Matt Johannsen and a regular challenger among big schools and in the Front Range League, had no answers once Mullen settled into the flow. Fossil Ridge was only 12-of-36 shooting through three quarters, made just 15 baskets for the game and had 23 turnovers in the first 24 minutes. The Mustangs were quicker on defense, didn’t get hurt much inside by the SaberCats and had lots of success running down and getting to balls in the balance.

“These guys deserve it,” Caton said.

Davis, who made eight of his first 10 shots, appreciates the confidence Mullen has developed in a turn-around season … and with the possibility of more to come.

“Like I said toward the beginning of the season, ‘The culture has changed,’” Davis said. “And it shows with our results. It’s feeling pretty good right now.”

He knows few expected much of anything from Mullen in 2017-18, perhaps even less in the second-round matchup against Overland.

Re-establishing themselves as a tough “out” in the bracket, Davis agreed, is going to require additional effort by the Mustangs and the opportunity is there.

“We just have to ride that momentum, ride it into Saturday,” he said.



Mullen    13 20 21 13 – 65

Fossil Ridge 10 5 14 9 -- 38

Mullen – Davis 9 2-2 25, Cito 1 0-0 3, Veen 2 0-0 4, B. Parris 1 2-2 4, Riepma 4 2-2 10, Mason 2 2-2 6, R. Parris 1 0-0 2, Stransky 1 0-0 3, Stitt 3 0-1 8, Ondekane 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 8-9 65.

Fossil Ridge – Osius 2 0-0 6, Lambrecht 4 1-3 9, Cornmesser 2 0-0 4, Ripsam 3 1-2 8, Marley 2 0-0 4, Croft 0 2-2 2, Kawcak 1 0-0 2, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Whittall 0 0-0 0, Henderson 0 0-0 0, Bodnar 0 0-0 0, Baldwin 1 0-0 3. Totals 15 4-7 38.

3-pt. goals – Davis 5, Stitt 2, Cito, Stransky; Osius 2, Ripsam.

Mustangs set to travel to Fossil Ridge in 5A playoffs

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It will be a first-round game with Fossil Ridge for Mullen in the Class 5A boys basketball bracket that was released on Sunday.

The Mustangs will travel to Fort Collins on Wednesday (tip-off TBA) as elimination play has arrived.

Mullen head coach Bob Caton admitted on Sunday that he hadn’t seen much of Fossil Ridge, but knows the SaberCats “play hard,” coach Matt Johannsen “does a great job and likes to get the ball inside,” and “We’re going to have to be ready.”

Fossil Ridge is the 25th seed in the 48-team outlay that includes 16 byes. The SaberCats are 12-11, including 8-4 in the Front Range League, where they tied for third place with Louisville’s Monarch. They won their past two games to snap a four-game losing streak.

Since a 9-15 mark in the 2009-10 season, Fossil Ridge has enjoyed seven consecutive winning seasons and needs one more victory in 2017-18 to ensure an eighth. It began this season 2-5.

Scoring comes at a premium for the SaberCats, who are led by 6-foot-6 senior Brandon Lambrecht (10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds).

For Mullen, the 40th seed, it ended the regular season on a five-game slide -- most recently a 72-50 whipping at the hands of Grandview -- for a 10-13 record, 4-10 in the always good Centennial League. However, with Caton in his first season, the Mustangs have made preliminary adjustments in turning around a program that was a bleak 10-88 in league over seven seasons. The four Centennial victories were the most since winning seven in 2009-10 and the 10 overall victories equal the total in the 2011-12 season.

Junior Christian Davis tops Mullen at 11.5 points and senior point guard Nick Cito adds 9.6. And one of the most-effective Mustangs has been senior Cinque Mason (8.4 points, 7.9 rebounds).

Wednesday’s winner will play at Centennial champion Overland in Aurora on Saturday. The Trailblazers drew a bye.

Overland tames Mustangs 62-42, clinches Centennial tie

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

What is there to do on the court when the opponent is taller, quicker and faster?

Play hard.

It’s what Mullen coach Bob Caton was looking for when his Mustangs ultimately were victimized by a good Overland, which took a 62-42 decision at Hutchison Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

The Trailblazers clinched at least a tie for the Centennial League championship. They are 11-2 in the loop, 13-9 overall. Mullen, in what probaby will be its final home game of the season, dropped to 10-12, 4-9 – it’s fourth loss in a row and sixth in seven outings -- but remained positive at Caton’s behest.

In fact, Caton didn’t mind falling behind 9-2 as he started all seniors, most of whom have seen virtually no minutes.

“The seniors deserved it,” he said.

And Overland deserves its billing. Coach Danny Fisher’s Trailblazers, who won back-to-back Class 5A championships a couple of seasons ago, began 2017-18 with a 1-7 mark and they were coming off a loss to second-place Grandview, but have turned it around. Their shooting on Wednesday was effective – they made 7-of-8 in the third quarter in grabbing control – and their defense proved stellar. In fact, Mullen was held to all of five points over the final 8 minutes.

Plus, it was one of those night sin which Overland seemed to get to every loose ball.

“Yeah, they can take you out of things,” Caton said of Overland’s in-your-face defense that also was sticky inside. “They got a lot of loose balls, second chances, and if we could have gotten to a few of them … but, yeah, we played hard.”

Actually, Mullen gathered itself and used 3-pointers by Nick Cito and Christian Davis to spark an 8-0 run to climb within 26-24 at halftime. Even through the third quarter, Mullen hovered within range.

However, Overland turned up its defense, enjoyed superior ball movement – especially in terms in finding the open player inside – ran away, outscoring the Mustangs 18-5. Mullen’s first basket in the fourth came with 2:02 remaining, a 3-pointer by Max Stransky.

“That’s a talented team, so all we could do was play hard,” Caton said. “We have another one coming up (at Grandview in Aurora on Friday that will complete the regular season) and this will get us ready for the playoffs.”

The Mustangs don’t figure to move much from near the 37th spot in RPI totals.

No one for Mullen was able to reach double figures in scoring. Stransky had eight points. Cito and Davis each added seven.



Overland 18 8 18 18 – 62

Mullen 10 14 13 5 – 42

Overland – Smith 3 2-6 9, Hayes 2 2-5 6, Wang 7 0-0 14, Oke 2 2-2 6, Redding 5 0-0 11, Rice 2 0-0 6, Clark 0 0-0 0, Pena Avila 2 0-0 5, Benyoucef 0 0-0 0, Ike 1 0-0 2, Chaney 0 0-0 0, Deden 1 0-0 3. Totals 25 6-13 62.

Mullen – Wayne 0 0-0 0, Mason 2 2-2 6, Stransky 3 0-0 8, Keeley 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 0-0 0, Davis 3 0-0 7, Cito 3 0-0 7, R, Parris 0 0-0 0, Riepma 3 0-0 6, Veen 0 1-2 1, Ondekane 0 0-0 0, Stitt 1 0-0 2, B. Parris 2 0-0 5. Totals 17 3-4 42.

3-pt. goals – Rice 2, Avila, Oke, Redding, Smith; Stransky 2, Cito, Davis, B. Parris.


Mustangs dull in latest loss, 59-48 to Cougars

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – All of the nice accomplishments to date this season by Mullen are currently being tested.

The Mustangs have hit a wall.

Their 59-48 setback to host Cherokee Trail on Friday night in the Centennial League was telling. Problems during this sour stretch were evident, beginning with the fact that Mullen lost to a team that was 8-12 overall and 2-9 in league coming in, one the Mustangs spanked 66-40 on Jan. 17.

Now, 10-11, 4-8, Mullen has dropped three games in succession and five of six, and doesn’t seem to have the zip of the group that posted its most league victories since the 2009-10 season and most overall victories since 2011-12.

Among their issues, the Mustangs have only surpassed 60 points in two of their past six games.

“Yeah, we’re just not getting the ball in the basket and not getting it to go down,” Mullen head coach Bob Caton said after challenging his players to regroup before their next outing.

As well, Mullen was a step slow on defense and failed to protect the lane.

“We just didn’t have any flow,” Caton added. “We didn’t have the bounce. And we’re slow.”

Cinque Mason, a senior, again played well inside with 12 points and nine rebounds, but he had little help down low or cutting off Cougars drivers to the basket. Junior Vaughnn Stitt added 11 points for the Mustangs.

And, as Caton said, “it won’t get any easier.” In the final week of the regular season, the Mustangs will welcome Centennial-leading Overland to Hutchison Fieldhouse on Wednesday, then wrap up their 23-game schedule on Friday at Grandview, which will be at Overland on Saturday and sits in second place in the league.

Mullen appears likely to advance to the state-tournament bracket, although Caton said he’s looking for more heading into the postseason.

“We need a week’s worth of practice to get ready,” he said.



Mullen 14 5 16 13 – 48

Cherokee Trail 8 15 19 17 – 59

Mullen – Cito 2 0-0 5, Stitt 3 2-2 11, B. Parris 1 0-0 2, B. Parris 2 1-1 5, Mason 6 0-0 12, Ondekane 2 1-2 5, Davis 2 0-0 4, Veen 1 0-1 2, Riepma 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 4-6 48.

Cherokee Trail – Barfield 5 4-10 14, Bode 3 4-5 10, Rodgers 1 3-4 5, Martin 3 2-2 8, Harrison 0 0-0 0, Hymer 3 0-0 6, Phillips 1 0-0 3, Gregory 0 0-0 0, Thomas 5 0-0 13, Totals 22 13-21 59.

3-pt. goals – Stitt 3, Cito; Thomas 3, Phillips.

Smoky Hill runs past Mustangs 61-42

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – Mullen’s climb from the lowest depths of the Centennial League has had its ups and downs as well as doses of reality.

There was a fairly large dose on Wednesday night when host Smoky Hill easily handled the Mustangs 61-42 to complete a regular-season sweep. The Buffaloes climbed to 14-6 overall, 7-4 in league, and a game behind second-place Grandview. Mullen is 10-10, 4-7, and has dropped two straight games and four of five.

“We had tough matchups at every position,” Mullen head coach Bob Caton said. “They had just a little bit more size, or athleticism, but we played well and gave it shot.”

It proved taxing for Mullen, which still needs three victories to ensure its first winning season since 2008 and led only once at 7-6. The Mustangs’ two leading scorers, Christian Davis and Nick Cito were held scoreless. Mullen couldn’t manage double-figure scoring in the first and third quarters. And its 42 points were one away from a season-low.

Mullen was within reasonable range, trailing 26-18, at halftime, but the Buffs, behind junior Kenny Foster and a significantly taller contingent that generally had its way inside, grabbed command early and cruised. Foster’s 13 points led all scorers. No Mustang reached double figures. Cinque Mason, Matt Veen and reserve Isaac Ondekane each scored eight.

“The second half really hurt us when they came out like that,” Caton said, noting Foster’s 11-point binge in the third quarter that outscored Mullen as a team. “And just a lot of the little things they did … we did what we could.”

Three games, all in league, await the Mustangs, beginning with Friday night’s away game at Cherokee Trail in Aurora.



Mullen  7 11 9  15 – 42

Smoky Hill 15 11 18 17 – 61

Mullen – Davis 0 0-0 0, Cito 0 0-0 0, Stransky 1 0-0 2, R. Parris 1 0-0 3, Mason 4 0-5 8, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Stitt 1 1-2 4, B. Parris 1 3-4 5, Veen 4 0-2 8, Ondekane 4 0-0 8, Riepma 2 0-0 4. Totals 18 4-13 42.

Smoky Hill – Williams 3 0-0 6, Muwwakkil 4 3-3 12, Harge 2 4-6 8, Cabs 2 0-4 4, Becker 3 3-4 9, Foster 5 1-1 13, Mohan 0 0-2 0, Bailey 0 7-10 7, Whitaker 0 0-0 0, Darnell 0 0-0 0, Lathan 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 20-32 62.

3-pt. goals – R. Parris, Stitt; Foster 2, Muwwakkil.

Rivalry with Creek produces another thriller

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It’s Cherry Creek versus Mullen, which arguably remains the top, high-end rivalry among big schools, so the way they arrived at a couple of outcomes this basketball season shouldn’t be a shock.

On Jan. 10, Cherry Creek earned a hard-fought 77-76 victory in overtime at Kirby Lyle Gymnasium in Greenwood Village.

And in a Saturday night special, the Bruins again earned a one-point victory, this one 58-57 at the Mustangs’ Huitchison Fieldhouse.

Not surprisingly, both teams also began the game with identical records – 10-8 overall, 4-5 in the Centennial League.

How else would these two schools decide anything?

“Yeah, every sport they’re our rivals,” Mullen senior Reggie Parris said of the Bruins, “them and Regis and a few other teams, but there’s nothing like going out there against Creek.”

The game’s largest lead was held by Mullen at 28-20 in the second quarter, but the Bruins rallied to make it a back-and-forth situation the rest of the way.

Basically, Cherry Creek got to the basket regularly, owned the backboards in grabbing multiple second, third and sometimes fourth chances, and seemed to run down every ball in the balance.

“They got every loose ball, they got every loose ball,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. “They got to the 50-50 balls. They’re better athletes.”

The Bruins’ Dimitri Stanley, who will play football at the University of Colorado; Rashon Johnson; Darius Price; Sebastian Cole; Kyle Hanlan; and Alec Pell led their parade that rebounded, tipped balls to teammates or simply beat the Mustangs to the ball.

“They wanted it more and we let them have it, especially in the first half,” Parris said. “We didn’t come out strong on the boards.”

Said Caton: “You give them four or five shots … how many of those did we get? Not many.”

As it was, Mullen stayed within range and nearly came all the way back from trailing 51-44 with 1 minute, 56 seconds to go. But despite Cherry Creek making just 21-of-33 free throws, it protected.

“Just think what would happen if we eliminated some of their shots or took a couple of charges,” Caton said.

Nick Cito, Christian Davis, Brady Parris, Reggie Parris, Matt Veen and Cinque Mason mostly carried Mullen, although the Bruins had success eliminating the Mustangs inside. Cito had 16 points and Davis 15.

Caton also was surprised prior to tip-off as he was honored for his induction into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame – he’ll join a class that also includes longtime Mullen baseball coach and athletic director Tony Schenbeck in March with a dinner and ceremony in Aurora.

“I didn’t know that was coming,” he said of Saturday’s acknowledgement. “It was nice.”

Next up for Mullen is a girl-boy doubleheader on Wednesday at Smoky Hill in Aurora. Indicative of a league that is worth watching with home-and-away series, the Buffaloes knocked off league-leading Overland on Saturday night. The Trailblazers have won their first nine Centennial games.



Cherry Creek 16 10 12 20 – 58

Mullen 13 15 11 18 – 57

Cherry Creek -- Johnson 6 4-6 14, Stanley 4 8-11 16, Price 6 2-4 14, Cole 1 3-3 5, Pell 2 1-5 5, Mitchell 2 0-0 4, Hanlan 1 3-4 5, Penry 0 0-0 0, Wood 2 0-0 5. Totals 18 21-33 58.

Mullen – Cito 5 2-2 16, B. Parris 3 1-1 9, Veen 2 2-3 6, R. Parris 1 1-2 4, Mason 2 2-4 6, Stitt 0 1-4 1, Stransky 0 0-0 0, Riepma 0 0-0 0, Davis 6 0-0 15. Totals 19 9-16 57.

3-pt. goals – Wood; Cito 4, Davis 3, B. Parris 2, R. Parris.


Mullen’s Schenbeck, Caton headed to another hall

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Two longtime figures on local sidelines who also have ties to Mullen will be inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Bob Caton, who is in his first year of heading Mullen boys basketball, and Tony Schenbeck, a veteran with Mullen as a coach and an administrator, will be part of the organization’s 55th class.

A familiar face working with in-state athletes, Caton has coached for 43 years, 37 as a head coach, primarily in boys basketball. He began this season with 505 victories, his first at Denver’s Manual in 1976. He also has been the head coach at Denver West (his alma mater), George Washington, Aurora Central and Highlands Ranch.

Caton also has experience on other levels of the game as well as with coaching baseball, cross country and football. A former star with the Denver Prep League Cowboys, he went on to become a captain and MVP of the Colorado State men’s team.

Concerning awards, his coaching list is full with honors and his teams have won seven league championships, advanced to 14 quarterfinals rounds, and were in six semifinals in addition to ending as state runners-ups twice.

He is in his first year in charge of the Mustangs and they already have turned around a losing program and made a bit of noise in the Class 5A Centennial League.

“Oh, it’s an honor,” Caton said. “I played in their all-state games in 1967 and I coached in them twice. So I’m very proud. It’s the coaches and people who helped you along the way. It’s quite an honor.”

Schenbeck, who attended Gering High School in Nebraska, earned a B.A. in physical education from Colorado State and a Masters from Northern Colorado, coached and was an athletic director for more than four decades.    

From a baseball standpoint, his career goes back to coaching at Denver Mt. Carmel and in the schoolboy all-star game multiple times when it was held at the old Denver Bears Mile High Stadium. All told, 40 years, he also coached at Mullen and Overland, compiling a record of 398-269 with championships at both schools. At Mullen, Schenbeck-coached teams won league titles in 1972, from ’75-78 and 2002; were state champions in 1978; state runners-ups in ’72; and state semifinalists in 2002. At Overland, they were state winners in 1990 and state semifinalists in 1989.

In addition, he has served on multiple committees, was a site director for state events and served as president and chairman of various sports. Also, Overland’s home field at Utah Park is called Schenbeck Field.

“It’s not something a person even thinks of when starting your coaching career,” Schenbeck said. “But after all, you’re recognized by your peers and it means a whole lot.

“I think back and I had 40 seasons of spring baseball and summer baseball, and when you start coaching you don’t even think about those things. Then all of a sudden it happens and I’m not one of those old guys, I shouldn’t be there … and I am.”

The induction will be held at the Radisson Denver Southeast, 3200 S. Parker Road in Aurora on Saturday, March 24, with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the banquet and induction at 6:30 p.m. Reservations may made online at the CHSCA website,


Mullen boys winning and riding the high

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Afterward, Bob Caton thought his Mullen Mustangs deserved a toast. And they had one in the locker room.  What’s wrong in celebrating with water out of a cooler and consumed from a paper cup? And who knew water could taste so sweet?

The Mustangs had no complaints following Wednesday night’s 61-52 defeat of defending Class 5A state champion Eaglecrest. The Centennial League victory at Hutchison Fieldhouse carried large meaning as well as knocked off a few of the team’s goals.  For one, it was Mullen’s 10th victory (against eight losses). It has attained double-figure victories only one other time since the 2010-11 season (the Mustangs won 10 in 2011-12).

For another, it was the Mustangs’ fourth league victory (they are 4-5). They hadn’t had more than three in eight seasons.  For another, they swept Eaglecrest in the home-and-away series of the Centennial. The last time Mullen had a season-series league sweep was in 2009-10, when it won twice against Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek.

And for another, everyone from the Mullen staff to players to followers had something else to feel good about a program that needs all it can get after going 10-88 in league from the 2010-11 season to 2016-17.  “It was a great team effort,” said Caton, in his first season heading the Mustangs. “We are reaching some goals.”

Mullen reached another goal – for the first time in weeks, it didn’t start slowly and fall behind. The Mustangs actually led 15-13 after the first quarter, built a 27-20 halftime, then piled up some double-figure bulges. And every time the Raptors (19-8, 5-4) made a move to get close, the Mustangs responded.  And it was by a lot of them. Cinque Mason had another big effort inside, including 15 points. Another forward, Matt Veen, added 13 and pivot Connor Riepma had 11. All three banged inside with a taller and very quick Raptors inside contingent.

Guards Nick Cito (10 points), Christian Davis, Brady Parris, Reggie Parris and Vaughn Stitt kept the ball moving around the key, shot it from the perimeter and played enough defense to harass the Raptors into primarily driving to the basket.  All along, Mullen never panicked or got away from its approach.

“Oh, yeah, we had some smart play out there, we made them foul us and all of them did a good job,” said Caton, who also welcomed three former players from one of his Denver West teams in the mid-1980s into the postgame locker room and introduced them to his Mustangs.  Mason, who called it “a battle,” said the primary change this season is “attitude. We’re different.”

The Mustangs will host Cherry Creek (7 p.m.on Saturday. They fell to the Bruins in overtime in the first meeting.


Eaglecrest 13 7 15 17 – 52

Mullen 15 12 18 16 – 61

Eaglecrest – Houston 1 2-2 4, Jackson 7 3-5 17, Brown 6 0-0 13, Bokol 2 0-1 4, Robinson 1 0-0 2, Ruckard 0 0-0 0, Dangerfield 2 1-4 5, Bunn 1 1-1 3, Bile 2 0-0 4, Thrower 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 7-15 52.

Mullen – Cito 2 4-7 10, B. Parris 1 0-0 2, Veen 6 0-0 13, R. Parris 0 2-2 2, Mason 6 3-3 15, Davis 1 0-0 3, Stitt 1 2-4 5, Stransky 0 0-0 0, Riepma 5 1-1 11, Ondekane 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 0-0 0, Kelley 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 12-17 61.

3-pt. goals – Brown; Cito 2, Davis, Stitt, Veen..

Mustangs’ 30-year reunion of boys hoops semis team

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

So what were you doing in 1988?

Back in those days, a gallon of gasoline sold for 91 cents. About one-third of Yellowstone National Park burned. A Tasty Bake oven cost $29.99. “Rain Man” and “Big” were some of the top movies. The Los Angeles Lakers were NBA Champions.

And Mullen’s boys basketball team made the big-school (Class 4A in those days) semifinals. The group was honored at halftime of Saturday’s Mustangs home game at Hutchison Fieldhouse against Arapahoe in the Centennial League.

Competing at now defunct McNichols Sports Arena when there was a 16-team field and winners played four consecutive nights, the Mustangs fell in the semis to eventual champion and statewide power Manual. The Thunderbolts, by the way, had Chucky Sproling, who scored 74 points in a game against Denver North (without the 3-pointer) and a freshman named Johnnie Reece, who would win three state titles. It was the ninth of Manual’s 11 state championships and five years before it opened the Thunderdome. Longtime Denver East coach Rudy Carey headed Manual.

As for the Mustangs, who played in Mullen’s “old” gymnasium, well before Hutchison was constructed, the coaches were Bill Ficke, former assistant of the Nuggets and current owner of Big Bill’s N.Y. Pizza; Mullen alum Tom Thenell, who recently stepped down as head football coach; and current Mustangs coach Bob Caton.

As for the players, and look at how many of them wore multi-sporters:

James Coffey lettered three years and went on to play football at Colorado State.

Jamal Coleman lettered three years, was first team all-state, was the team’s and state’s top player, and went on to play at Missouri.

Carl Goodman lettered three years and played baseball at Northern Colorado.

Blair Hanneman lettered three years and played at Kansas State.

Greg Scheckenbach lettered three years and played volleyball at Notre Dame.

Luke Weith lettered three years and played football at Wyoming.

Two others couldn’t make it:

Marty Clark, who earned two letters, went on to play at Duke and won two National Championships.

And Andre Jones, a three-year letter winner.

In addition, Mike Jones and Rob Caton were ball boys. Both had successful playing careers and Caton currently serves as an assistant with his father.

Arapahoe surprises Mullen, wins 85-80

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Heading into the season and for much of it since opening game, Mullen has played like a team that was sick and tired of losing. The Mustangs had won only 10 Centennial League games in seven seasons and are on pace to top both season league and overall marks for the decade.

However, on Saturday night, Arapahoe certainly played a like a team that was sick and tired of losing in 2017-18. The Warriors entered Hutchison Fieldhouse just 3-13 overall and 0-7 in league, yet walked out with a hard-earned and well-deserved 85-80 victory as the Centennial headed into the second half of its home-and-away go-round.

So, yes, both teams know the feeling of trying to turn around a program.

It’s the beauty of sports as to how some of these things work out and veteran coach Bob Caton, in his first season heading the Mustangs, probably has seen just about all of it. And he watched his team get another dose of why we play the games.

“(The Warriors) came in and said, ‘Hey, this is our chance to win a game,’” Caton said. “And they got it.”

They certainly did – the Warriors made their first four shots from the floor, 10 of their first 14 and finished a very warm 14-of-21 in the first half. They led 9-0, never trailed and had as much as a 15-point lead late in the third quarter. They also made 12 3-pointers, nine over the first 16 minutes.

Mullen, now 9-8, 3-5,  started slowly, as usual, and made another series of comebacks, as usual, but ran out of gas in the final minutes, yet still had a chance in the final seconds. But a late turnover when the Mustangs were coming down the floor in hopes of making a 3-pointer to tie it all but decided it and they had multiple chances when shrinking the Arapahoe lead to two points.

Ultimately, Mullen never led on a night in which its 1988 team, which made the big-school (Class 4A in those days) semifinals, was honored at halftime.

Caton told his players afterward that he wouldn’t dwell on the loss and some of their goals remain in front of them with six league games to go. It begins on Wednesday, when the Mustangs will host defending 5A state champion Eaglecrest.

“They played a good game,” Caton said of the Warriors. “A few plays here, a few plays there, someone not fouling out … and, yes, it takes a lot of energy to come back.”

Displaying a lot of it was senior forward Cinque Mason, who was a force inside on both ends and scored all 21 of his points after halftime. Junior Christian Davis scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and junior Matt Veen had eight of his 14 in the first half, also when the Mustangs frequently found themselves a step slow on defense and the Warriros repeatedly got to the basket.

Reggie Parris added a large 3-pointer in the closing moments to give the Mustangs a chance, but Arapahoe sealed it with free throws despite missing eight over the final 8 minutes. Plus, Mullen’s 26-point fourth quarter wasn’t enough.

All five Warriors starters reached doubles, topped by Braxton Reinders’ 15 points.



Arapahoe 24 23 16 22 – 85

Mullen 18 17 19 26 – 80

Arapahoe -- Reinders 4 5-6 15, Hess 5 2-2 14, D’Agostino 5 1-1 13, Hayes 2 5-7 10, Valerio 2 4-6 10, Lukasiewicz 1 2-3 4, Baltzer 1 3-7 5, Sturgeon 3 1-2 9, Sweeney 1 2-2 5. Totals 24 25-36 85.

Mullen – Davis 4 2-2 14, Cito 3 1-1 7, Stitt 0 0-0 0, R. Parris 1 0-0 3, Riepma 4 0-0 8, Mason 7 7-9 21, B. Parris 2 3-3 8, Veen 7 0-2 14, Stransky 1 1-1 3, Ondekane 1 0-0 2. Totals 30 14-18 80.

3-pt. goals – D’Agostrino 2, Hess 2, Reinders 2, Sturgeon 2, Valerio 2, Hayes, Sweeney; Davis 4, B. Parris, R. Parris. Fouled out – Mason, Veen. Technical – R. Parris.

Mustangs wasted by Grandview 69-54

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

After the final buzzer and handshakes, Mullen head coach Bob Caton was seeking a receptacle.

Indeed, he liked the effort of his Mullen Mustangs. They played hard and put forth work on defense, but their 69-54 setback to Grandview at home at Hutchison Fieldhouse on Wednesday night was littered with hot shooting by the Wolves. Too many turnovers, missed free throws and a bunch of shots that got blocked for the Mustangs. And superior skill and athleticism that they couldn’t match.

It happens.

“That’s where we’ll put it,” Caton said, referring to a trash can. “You can’t say much about it. There was a whole lot of effort, they played hard and they did what we asked them to do.

“We could have made a couple of adjustments that didn’t get done, maybe, but overall, we had pretty good preparation, pretty good effort. We were playing hard.”

Grandview, among Class 5A’s elite, moved to 13-3 overall, 5-2 in league at the completion of the first go-round in the loop’s home-and-away series. Mullen is 9-7, 3-4, and it was the second game between the two teams this month. The first was nonleague as both teams needed a game to fill out their schedules. They will meet for the final time on Feb. 16, at Grandview in Aurora, to finish the regular season.

The Wolves made four of their first five shots and the rout was on – they led 38-23 at halftime, had their lead crest at 30 points in the third quarter and three reserves actually led the team in scoring, topped by sophomore Lian Ramiro’s 13 points.

It was that kind of night for Mullen.

Christian Davis (17 points) and Matt Veen (12) headed the Mustangs, but it wasn’t enough. Mullen also picked up a couple of technical fouls.

The Mustangs are beginning a four-game stretch at home. Next is Arapahoe on Saturday, 7 p.m.



Grandview 11 27 19 12 – 69

Mullen 9 14 8 23 – 54

Grandview - Gentry 2 0-0 4, McGill 3 2-2 8, Walker 2 2-4 6, Boone 3 0-1 7, Prim 4 0-0 8, Ramiro 4 4-4 13, Dombro 5 1-2 11, Unger 5 0-0 12,  Totals 28 9-13 69.

Mullen – Davis 6 3-3 17, Cito 2 0-1 4, Stitt 2 0-0 5, R. Parris 2 0-2 5, Riepma 2 0-2 4, Veen 4 3-5 12, Mason 1 0-1 2, B. Parris 0 0-0 0, Stransky 0 2-2 2, Ondekane 1 1-1 3. Totals 20 9-17 54.

3-pt. goals – Unger 2, Boone, Ramiro; Davis 2, R. Parris, Stitt, Veen. Technicals – Mullen coach Caton, Cito.

Mustangs part of special night at the new Northfield

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It turned out to be a relaxed, interesting night complete with similarities and contrasts, the kind that make the high-school level special.

Mullen travelled to the new Northfield in boys basketball on Monday, a meeting of a private Lasallian school that dates back to the 1930s in Southwest Denver and another new-wave public school that opened its doors in a quickly developing area of North Denver.

Mullen competes in Class 5A; Northfield has yet to officially join the varsity level.

High academics? Mullen is College Prep and Northfield is authorized for International Baccalaureate.

Mullen’s head coach is Bob Caton. Northfield’s is Ezekiel Ocansey, who played for Caton when he headed George Washington.

A lot of the families knew each other and while it turned into an 88-60 blowout in favor of the Mustangs, both teams needed a game to fill out their schedules. Plus, Mullen players got to see a new school in its infancy and the Nighthawks, who won’t have seniors until next school year, got a taste of big-school varsity and what awaits them once their enrollment, which is being fed from a number of areas, stabilizes.

And for the Mustangs, hey, it beat the heck out of a Monday practice.

“Absolutely,” Caton said. “You know, we gave this school a great night. They don’t get games like this ... the atmosphere wasn’t conducive to good concentration. I introduced (our players) to Zeke and he introduced his to ours … it just wasn’t a good atmosphere for (win-at-all-costs competition). So we don’t want to take it to heart too much … but it was very good.”

 Ocansey joked that he’s trying to build his team “along with (the area’s) construction,” and the battle he’s currently facing is “(the lack of) maturity, which I don’t know how to coach yet, but I’m learning.”

Still, he added, he appreciated the opportunity for the game, referred to Caton as “a legend and I was honored for the opportunity.”

Mullen junior Brady Parris said “it was fun. You could see how much it meant for their fans, just for us to be here was good. It shows that it’s more than a game and has a deeper meaning.”

Parris said Caton warned the Mustangs, now 9-6, that the Nighthawks have some inexperienced, raw talent. They hung around in the first half, trailing just 37-30.

“He told us, ‘Stay tuned for Northfield,’” Parris said. “We just wanted to come out and work on things. We know we have a tough week.”

The Mustangs will resume Centennial League play on Wednesday, hosting Grandview at Hutchison Fieldhouse, then welcoming Arapahoe on Saturday.

As it was, Mullen breezed to a 51-point second half, struggled (again) at the free-throw line in converting just 14-of-28, but also canned 14 3-pointers. Senior Nick Cito led the way with 17 points. Christian Davis and Vaughnn Stitt each had 16 and Parris scored 11.

“It was good,” Caton said. “And we have to go back to work.”



Mullen 19 18 28 23 – 88

Northfield 10 20 14 16 – 60

Mullen – Davis 5 2-3 16, Cito 5 3-3 17, Stitt 4 5-8 16, R. Parris 1 0-0 2, Mason 3 2-6 8, B. Parris 4 0-0 11, Veen 3 1-4 7, Stransky 0 0-0 0, Riepma 3 1-4 7, Ondekane 2 0-0 4, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Ward 0 0-0 0, Keeley 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 14-28 88.

Northfield – Swanson 4 1-1 10, Dominguez 5 1-4 11, Bolar 5 1-1 13, Phillips 1 0-0 2, Mize 2 1-1 6, Diakite 2 1-1 5, Gaddis 2 0-0 5, Hinton 0 2-2 2, Clayton 0 0-0 0, Stoffel 2 0-0 6. Totals 23 7-10 60.

3-pt. goals – Davis 4, Cito 4, B. Parris 3, Stitt 3; Bolar 2, Stoffel 2, Gaddis, Mize, Swanson.  

Mustangs romp over Cherokee Trail 66-40

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It’s getting to be a common occurrence. Mullen is winning games against opponents it ordinarily would have crinkled against. At least, that’s what’s happening in 2017-18 as opposed to the past seven seasons.

On Wednesday night, the Mustangs ran past Cherokee Trail 66-40 at Hutchison Fieldhouse, piling up another Centennial League victory that had been few and far between – they had won only 10 league games from 2010-17.

However, now 8-5 overall and 3-2 in league, Mullen continues to erase memories of poor play. The Mustangs’ eight victories match their most in a season since 2011-12, when they won 10. And the three entries in the ‘W’ column in league are their most since 2009-10, when they had seven.

As well, Mullen had lost five of its previous 18 games against the Cougars.

However, to a player, the Mustangs are convinced they are turning it around, and doing it the right way.

“It’s a new year, a new era and a brand-new place for basketball,” Mullen senior forward Cinque Mason said.

In addition, Mullen, which was coming off a 75-65 victory over Coronado in nonleague, had emotional incentive, although certainly not the kind its program or any other craves. Last week, it was learned that 18-year-old Mustangs student Sawyer Dow was killed in an accident. An avid rock climber, Mustangs players wore T-shirts memorializing their fallen classmate, notably with the word fearless, a trait they said was among Dow’s best.

“We’re dedicating the season to him,” Mason said. “We feel good about how we played for him.”

Bob Caton concurred. The first-year head coach knew the death was on his players’ minds and said “yeah, we got off to a slow start again, but the kids hung in there and stayed with the game plan. They had confidence in what we’re doing. It’s a group that’s tough mentally and that’s always good to have.”

Caton changed his starting lineup to try and address the slow starts, yet Cherokee Trail (7-7, 1-4) came out hot and quickly raced to a 9-0 lead.

All Mullen did was gradually take over, build a big lead and hold it, and further develop, which Caton said is vital.

“We played well all around, we shot the ball well and executed well,” he said, adding that he was pleased with the number of charges his players took as “it’s contagious. If one guy does it, they all do it.”

Junior Christian Davis scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first half, when Mullen had a 34-21 halftime lead. Mason was particularly active inside, scoring while posting up and rebounding. Matt Veen scored all of his 10 points after halftime. Connor Riepma and Vaughnn Stitt each added eight points.

It helped that the Cougars finished 15-of-62 shooting from the floor.

It’s a high point for Mullen, which next travels to Overland in Aurora on Friday. The Trailblazers head the league at 5-0 and are 7-7 overall after a 1-7 start. They used a 3-point buzzer-beater to take down Grandview 52-51 on Wednesday.

Said Mason: “We’re not afraid of any team in the state.”



Cherokee Trail 14 7 6 13 – 40

Mullen 13 21 15 17 – 66

Cherokee Trail – Barfield 5 0-0 12, Rodgers 2 0-0 5, Martin 2 3-7 7, Gregory 2 0-0 5, Hymer 3 2-2 8, Harrison 1 0-2 2, Phillips 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 1-2 1, Rose 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 6-13 40.

Mullen – Davis 6 0-0 16, Cito 0 2-2 2, Stitt 3 0-0 8, Veen 4 2-2 10, R. Parris 1 0-0 2, Mason 4 5-6 13, B. Parris 1 0-0 2, Stransky 1 0-0 3, Riepma 4 0-0 8, Ondekane 0 0-2 0, Thompson 1 0-1 2, Ward 0 0-0 0, Wayne 0 0-0 0, Keeley 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 9-13 66.

3-pt. goals – Barfield 2, Gregory, Rodgers; Davis 4, Stitt 2, Stransky.

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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Head Coach: Bob Caton



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Head Coach 
Bob Caton

Varsity Assistant Coaches
Arlandus Lowe
Chris Crosby
Rob Caton

Junior Varsity Coach
Mark Quinn

Sophomore Coach
Tom Tesone

Freshman Coaches
Mike Augustine
DeVon Miller

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