Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

The 2018-19 Mullen boys basketball team at Hutchison Fieldhouse.

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Former ‘Parokes’ take center court

 

                                                            Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

Former Parochial League members gathered at Mullen on Saturday in the 'Old Gym.'

 

Mullen hosts a salute to the venerable Catholic-school group

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The spirits of the old Parochial League revisited the Mullen campus on Saturday, the only Denver-area Catholic school in existence that’s still on its founders’ site.

There was lots of gray hair and no hair as members appeared in the form of schoolboys of yesteryear, but stories of long ago seemed to get better every time they were retold and certain faces were seen by others for the first time in about a half-century.

In case you were wondering, yes, there was basketball before someone invented the 3-point line. There was basketball back when a crossover dribble was considered a carry. There was basketball back when shorts were, well, shorts. And, sure, there was basketball before hip-hop was considered a thing beyond what the Easter bunny did.

The testament to the old Catholic-school group occurred at Mullen’s Hutchison Fieldhouse, although while waiting for the halftime ceremony to be introduced, the dozens of the distinguished, fitting called “Parokes” at the time, first gathered in what has come to be known as Mullen’s “Old Gym,’’ the one with the airplane-hangar ceiling and quaint quarters that were indicative of Parochial play.

“It went great,” said Mullen boys head coach Bob Caton, who came up with the theme.

Basically, teams in 2018-19 were permitted an extra gathering beyond their 23-game schedule that wouldn’t count in the standings or toward playoff seeding. So Mullen hooked up with Holy Family, now in Broomfield after leaving North Denver, for a girl-boy doubleheader, Foundation Games, to cap the evening and salute the old days when privates and publics were forbidden to play each other.

But there was so much more going on during the day. Mullen’s lower levels, C and D, completed games against Smoky Hill according to the regular schedule. There also were feeder-team games as well as a Unified game that included Mustangs team manager J.P. Leyba draining multiple 3-pointers much to the delight of the varsity team members he serves.

“The loudest cheers,” Caton said.

There were junior-varsity boys and girls games, of course, against Holy Family before the varsity matchups. Mullen won both high-end outcomes that didn’t count against their records, but neither one was the point.

This was about the Parochial’s original six schools, Annunciation, Cathedral, Holy Family, Sacred Heart, St. Francis de Sales and St. Joseph in 1926, according to former Mullen student and current boys basketball filmer Dan Corrales, also a prep historian. In the 1930s, Regis, and Mullen came on board. Later, Mount Carmel, St. Mary’s of Colorado Springs and Machebeuf joined the fray.

Ultimately, Mullen and Regis left after the 1966-67 school year and the league disbanded in 1970.

Representatives seemed to be from everywhere, even recognizable names today. To name a few, Pete and Joe Chavez from Annunciation. Benjy Montoya of Cathedral. John Horvat of Mount Carmel as well as Bob Scheck, who later coached at Mullen. Nick Arcuri of St. Francis, who’s now the baseball head coach at Mullen. The likes of Pat Ryan of St. Joseph’s. Frank Kelly and Rick Schraeder of Regis along with Tom Robinson, who one returnee called “the greatest football player to come out of Colorado.” Plus, the great Guy Gibbs, a coaching legend at Regis, drew a gracious round of applause.

And as for Mullen, the who’s who included Stan Smith; Jim Deidel who played for the New York Yankees; Rick Egloff; and Bill Morley.

Alumni after the Parochial League also were recognized as the common tread was Catholic play.

“We were all gym rats,” said Ryan, who played football, basketball and baseball at St. Francis in addition to being on its boxing team.

He recalled a time when the “Parokes” played baseball on Sunday and Deidel hit a home run off him that went way out of Ruby Hill. Ryan said he always kidded Deidel, who had scouts from the Yankees in the stands and watching, about getting some of his bonus money for permitting the homer.

Others remembered playing basketball in Mullen’s small gym and having players throw balls to the ceiling in order to knock off some of the coating.

“It’s a wonder we didn’t die of asbestos,” said one.

Mostly, though, it was about remembering the times of their late teens. The gyms, the playgrounds, the camaraderie … sweet times rolled off their tongues as if they happened yesterday and not in the major metropolis Denver has turned into with dozens of more schools.

Robinson called his “Paroke” days a good time,” and was aware of the conflict between his group and the state-sanctioned publics. Think there’s dislike between today’s publics and privates? Decades ago, it was worse. Way worse.

“They really didn’t want Regis coming in or Mullen because we were pretty good,” Robinson said of state-sanctioned schools. “We always had the desire to play each other. We used to just scrimmage.”

He recalled one such scrimmage against a loaded Lakewood and it drew a packed house.

“We didn’t have to validate who we were; we had good players,” Robinson said.

Ultimately, Gibbs was part of the front of the charge to join state schools, Robinson said, “because he was such a good guy and a lot of guys in the public schools liked him.”

All told, Gibbs, who joined Caton on the Mullen bench for the first half of the scrimmage against Holy Family, coached basketball – he also coached other sports -- from 1956-84 and his teams were 473-156, a winning percentage of .752 that topped Colorado at the time.

Decades after the end of the Parochial League, Saturday’s scrimmage participants noted the history and benefits of the gathering now and possibly for the future.

“It was an excellent day,” Mustangs girls head coach Frank Cawley said, adding appreciation for his players “just to play and stop thinking and stop being so calculated. It was really nice. I hope this is something that can continue. I think it helps (Tigers coach Ron Rossi’s) program and I know it helps mine.”

Rossi agreed, saying “Frank and I were talking that we’d like to maybe do it in November as a scrimmage before we get started (for the season). And we want to incorporate our third level.”

Tigers sophomore Abby Coufal said “it was a lot of fun and it’s always good to play with some girls who have good sportsmanship and you’re always playing for the greater glory of God.”

Holy Family boys head coach Pete Villeco said he appreciated the extra work available for his team and that he “would be open” to some form of continuance, including adding its as an actual game or being involved with a tournament.

“Sports are all about relationships, the people you see, the people you play,” Caton said. “Twenty, 30, 50 years from now they’ll remember it and everybody had a good time.

“Yeah, I’d like to do it every year. We get that extra game and it’s fun. The season is a grind and the kids need a little bit of a break. Even the NBA has an all-star game.”

Interestingly, Mullen junior Isaac Ondekane, originally from the Congo, arguably understood and appreciated the purpose of the day as well as anyone.

“It’s really good to learn about the history of the school and what the people have done,” he said. “It’s great to meet with them and get advice. I went to shake the hand (of Gibbs) who won so many championships (his teams won or shared eight Parochial titles). I had to do it. It gave me a great feeling.”

 

 

Buffs hand Mustangs 3rd straight defeat

                                                                                         Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

Junior center Isaac Ondekane, top, piled up 21 points and 19 rebounds, but Mullen head coach Bob Caton and senior guard Brady Parris fell 67-55 at Smoky Hill to suffer their third consecutive loss in the Centennial League.

 

Mustangs score only 17 first-half points, have defensive lapses 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – It wasn’t what they wanted. Not even close.

Mullen’s Mustangs rolled into Aurora on Friday night and got rolled by host Smoky Hill 67-55 in the Centennial League.

They have hit the skids – a three-game losing streak has them at 9-5 overall, 2-4 in league.

And they know what they’re doing wrong, although stopping has proven quite difficult.

“Yeah, it was disappointing,” Mullen head coach Bob Caton said. “We dug a hole. (The Buffaloes) played well, but we just have to execute a few things we need to do better.”

The Mustangs scored only 17 points in the first half, made just two 3-pointers, shot 9-of-17 at the free-throw line and had too many key turnovers when attempting to make a move.

“Every game, every game, we play well, then we throw a ball away, we get a travel call … it’s different every time,” Caton said. “We can invent things to go wrong.”

And defense, or the lack of it, is becoming another problem. When the Mustangs were pressing, the Buffaloes beat them down the floor multiple times for layups.

“We have to defend,” Caton said. “We didn’t get back and that’s just something we can’t do. We can’t give those cheap baskets.”

Smoky Hill, now 13-2, 5-1, only trailed twice early when the two were trading baskets. But the Buffaloes re-grabbed the lead, benefitted when the Mustangs made only 2-of-11 shots in the second quarter and led 32 -19 at the break.

While Mullen, mostly behind junior center Isaac Ondekane (21 points, 19 rebounds) and Brady Parris (seven quick points), made a move in the opening minutes of the third quarter, the Buffaloes regrouped. Even with Mullen holding down Buffs senior Kenny Foster for a bit (no points in the first quarter), the Mustangs were hurt by Jalen Weaver (23 points), Jordan Whitaker (12) and Quinen Rock (10). And 13 of Foster’s 19 points came in the middle quarters.

Christian Davis added 11 points for Mullen.

Afterward, Caton reminded his team about the difficult Centennial stretch they’re enduring, including seven-of-eight games on the road, but remained undeterred.

“It’s still a long season, a lot of games to play,” he said.

On Saturday, the Mustangs will host an all-day salute to the old Parochial League with an assorted level of games, including matchups in girls (5:30) p.m.) and boys (7 p.m.) that won’t count against their 23-game schedule in the regular season.

 

SMOKY HILL 67, MULLEN 55

Mullen  12  7  18  18  – 55

Smoky Hill  17  15  13  22  –  67

Mullen – Davis 4 2-4 11, Veen 2 1-2 5, Stitt 0 0-0 0, Parris 3 0-0 7, Ondekane 9 3-8 21, White 2 3-3 7, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Riepma 2 0-0 4, Beckish 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 9-17 55.   

Smoky Hill – Rock 5 0-0 10, Weaver 7 8-10 23, Whitaker 4 4-4 12, Tuom 1 0-0 2, Foster 9 0-0 19, Darnell 0 0-0 0, Cortez-Latham 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0, Horn 0 1-2 1. Totals 26 13-16 67.

3-pt. goals – Davis, Parris; Foster, Weaver. Fouled out – Cortez-Latham.

 

 

Mullen wilts late, loses 64-50

                                                                                                         Photos by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer 

Mullen's issac Ondekane threw down a nice dunk, top, and Matt Veen battled inside, below, but the Mustangs fell to 2-3 in the Centennial League. Mullen is 9-4 overall and will face Smoky Hill on Friday night.

Second-half collapse includes turnovers, lack of defense vs. 5A champ 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA – A tale of two halves is probably a corny, antiquated reference to Mullen’s effort on Wednesday night in the Centennial League, but it’s also apt.

The Mustangs looked sharp and game throughout the first half only to unexpectedly fell apart over the final two quarters in dropping a stinging 64-50 decision at Grandview, the defending Class 5A state champion.

In stumbling to 9-4 overall, 2-3 in league, Mullen had an opportunity to shake up the league a bit, but the Wolves improved to 10-4, 5-0, and remained in command.

Afterward in a locker room, assistant coach Ray Valdez addressed the team and alluded to the various “pockets” experienced by the Mustangs, who play soundly and beautifully for stretches only to match them with other stretches in which they play poorly on defense and suddenly struggle to accumulate points.

“It hurt us,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. “I have to look at the film, but Ray was talking about that pocket and we get a stretch where we don’t execute, and when that happens …”

Over the first 24 minutes, Mullen shot 12-of-22 from the floor and made a concerted effort on defense in rolling to a 29-23 lead. The Wolves seemed to be surprised and were on their heels.

However, the Mustangs meltdown began almost immediately.

Turnovers, missed shots and failure to defend, Caton said, were too much to overcome.

“We have a couple of traveling calls inside and guess what – you have to go and play defense,” he said. “We take an ill-advised shot and guess what – you have to go and play defense again.

“You’ve got to go down and score, then come back and make a stop. It’s just like pickup basketball. It’s that simple. And we didn’t do it.”

For the half, Mullen was outscored 41-21.

Junior Isaac Ondekane led Mullen with 21 points and senior guard Christian Davis added 15. And the Mustangs didn’t get to the free-throw line, attempting only five.

Next up is a Friday game at Smoky Hill, 7 p.m. The Buffaloes currently sit in second place in league and are coming off a one-point victory over Overland, the defending league champion.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Caton said.

 

GRANDVIEW 64, MULLEN 50

Mullen  17  12  11  10  --  50

Grandview  11  12  21  20  –  64

Mullen – Davis 6 0-0 15, Veen 1 1-2 3, Stitt 2 0-0 6, Parris 1 0-0 3, Ondekane 10 1-3 21, Riepma 0 0-0 0, White 1 0-0 2, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Beckish 0 0-0 0, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 2-5 50.

Grandview – McGill 11 2-2 25, Ramiro 1 1-2 3, Unger 1 0-0 2, Walker 3 0-0 7, Prim 7 0-0 15, Dombro 1 0-0 3, Thomas 3 0-2 7, Williams 0 0-0 0, Leu-Pierre 0 1-3 1, Norman 0 1-2 1. Totals 27 5-11 64.

3-pt. goals – Davis 3, Stitt 2, Brady; Dombro, McGill, Prim, Thomas, Walker. Fouled out – Prim. Technicals – White; Prim.

 

 

 

‘Stangs trip at Eaglecrest 74-64

                                                                                                                      Photo by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer

Mullen senior Matt Veen gets instruction from head coach Bob Caton, top; Vaughnn Stitt at the hoop, below. 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sport Information Specialist

CENTENNIAL – When it was over, they were calling it “a bump in the road” and hoping that’s all it was.

Plus, the game spoke to what the Centennial League is, as in probably the deepest big-school group in the state.

So, yes, Saturday afternoon’s 74-64 loss by Mullen to host Eaglecrest in league play was tough to take, but, no, the setback, while disappointing, shouldn’t be enough to dent the Mustangs’ confidence. They have so much more to do and are staring at lots of opportunity.

Plus, their foes next week are defending state champion Grandview and Smoky Hill, so significant competition will continue.

 “A little bit of a bump,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said of his team that’s now 9-3 overall, 2-2 in league. “But we’re executing well at times and this is how life is in the league.”

It certainly is. The Raptors (8-5, 3-1), swept a year ago by the Mustangs after winning the state championship in 2017, have already taken on the upper-end likes of Legend, Mountain Vista, Fairview, Regis Jesuit, Overland and Cherry Creek. And the Mustangs are in the early part of a stretch of seven-of-eight games on the road.

Still, the Mustangs had their chances before repeated missed shots in the paint, so-so free-throw shooting, foul trouble and being a step slow on defense helped to decide it.

Bright spots for the Mustangs included sweet-shooting senior guard Christian Davis, who led all scorers with 25 points; Isaac Ondekane, who added 14 points and 13 rebounds; and Isaac White, who continued to be valuable off the bench and scored 12 points.

In addition, the Mustangs, who trailed by 10 points in the second quarter and 42-33 at halftime, cut the Raptors lead to 47-45 in the third quarter. However, while Mullen flirted with taking the lead, some of its above problems transpired and it never recovered.

“If we can just eliminate those mistakes …” Caton said. “We played hard and then we do what we do, but then just sort of kick ourselves in the butt. We just need to take care of what we have to take care of.”

Ondekane eventually fouled out and senior Matt Veen (eight points, seven rebounds) earlier was disqualified through fouls.

The Mustangs also will host Broomfield’s Holy Family, lower levels and feeder-program games on Saturday in an extra gathering to celebrate the Old Parochial League.

Much awaits the Mustangs, who have time to recover and fix some of their problems.

“We’ll be all right,” Caton said.

 

EAGLECREST 74, MULLEN 64

Mullen 16  17 14  17  –  64

Eaglecrest  15  27  15  17  --  74

Mullen – Davis 7 9-10 25, Veen 4 0-1 8, Stitt 1 0-0 3, Parris 0 1-2 1, Ondekane 3 8-11 14, White 5 0-0 12, Thompson 0 1-2 1, Riepma 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 19-27 64.

Eaglecrest – Robinson 6 10-10 23, Bokol 5 4-4 17, Ruckard 6 2-3 16, Bile 2 2-4 6, Wilson 3 3-4 11, Stilson 0 1-2 1, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Europe 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 22-27 74.

3-pt. goals – Davis 2, White 2, Stitt; Bokol 3, Ruckard 2, Wilson 2, Robinson. Fouled out – Veen, Ondekane; Bokol.

 

Ondekane, Mustangs overcome Cougars

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

AURORA -- High-school schedulers can be silly.

Ask Mullen. On Wednesday night, the Mustangs began a stretch of seven-of-eight games on the road in the Centennial League. Their 66-60 victory at Cherokee Trail was testing and there’s the promise of more. Much more.

“Oh, yeah, this is tough,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. “That’s a good team.”

Mullen moved to 9-2 overall, 2-1 in league. Cherokee Trail is 5-7, 0-3.

Close? The largest lead was seven points. Tough? Mustangs senior forward Matt Veen took a shot to his left eye that forced the bleeding of a cut on a boxer. And fulfilling? Afterward, Caton and his staff preached the importance and benefits of such a road victory in what is turning into the deepest Class 5A loop.

“We got the job done,” the coach said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but we did a good job.”

About the best-looking aspect of Mullen’s game involved junior center Isaac Ondekane, who clearly is settling into an improved role. In addition to his 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks – including on a dunk attempt – Ondekane overcame early foul trouble, had his best outing in terms of catching the ball in position to score and further cementing the confidence his teammates have in him.

“I was just not letting it get into my head or my game,” he said of a couple of early fouls, then a third. “I made some dumb mistakes, but wasn’t letting it affect me. I felt like I deserved to be on the floor because I’ve been working hard.”

Down the stretch, Ondekane scored seven of Mullen’s final 13 points. Guard Brady Parris canned two big free throws as did Vaughnn Stitt, and Caton kept a short bench. Just seven Mustangs saw minutes, but it was a proving ground of sorts as the meat of their schedule awaits.

“This was a great road win and we needed it,” Caton said. “These are the kinds of games we need to have and we’ll see the rest of the way.”

Save for some late turnovers, Mullen protected well late. Ondekane, Veen (11 points, eight rebounds) and Connor Riepma (six points) fared well inside with Parris, Stitt, Christian Davis (11 points) and junior Isaac White handling guard duties.

The Mustangs also won despite 8-of-19 free-throw shooting, 1-of-6 by Ondekane, as Caton was pleased with the team’s ability to continue to find ways to win. So was Ondekane.

“This was a real good one for us,” he said.

Next up is a Saturday matchup at Eaglecrest in Centennial, Jan. 12, 2:30 p.m.

 

MULLEN 66, CHEROKEE TRAIL 60

Mullen  15  14  24  13  --  66

Cherokee Trail  12 18  19  11  –  60

Mullen – Davis 4 1-2 11, Veen 5 1-4 11, Stitt 2 2-2 7, Parris 3 2-3 9, Ondekane 10 1-6 21, Riepma 3 0-0 6, White 0 1-2 1. Totals 27 8-19 66.

Cherokee Trail – Robinson 4 0-0 9, K. Townsie 3 0-0 8, Jordan 3 1-1 7, B. Townsie 3 0-0 7, Tesfaye 8 1-5 17, Sanders 3 1-2 7, Deaderick 2 0-0 5, Vincent 0 0-0 0, Toledo 0 0-0 0, Roberts 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 3-8 60.

3-pt. goals – Davis 2, Parris, Stitt; K. Townsie 2, Deaderick, Robinson, B. Townsie.

 

White, Mullen rock Arapahoe 81-53

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The disappointing home loss to Cherry Creek a couple of days ago has been forgotten by Mullen.

“That’s ancient history,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said on Saturday. “Now, we build on this one and keep going.”

The veteran coach was referring to the 81-53 Centennial League thrashing of Arapahoe by the Mustangs at Hutchison Fieldhouse, the one in which they responded to a tough-to-take loss, regathered their mojo, readied themselves for an extended road schedule and watched one of their new ones blossom.

“We played well and executed well,” Caton said after his team improved to 8-2 overall, 1-1 in league. “It showed what we’re made of.”

The Mustangs ran to an 8-0 lead, never trailed, didn’t appear to get into any real trouble and redisplayed their firepower.

Interestingly, Isaac White led Mullen with 16 points off the bench. A recognized all-around athlete, White led the team in scoring, made his first four shots and once again displayed the various aspects he can bring to the team.

And Mullen has been eagerly waiting – White, a junior and the son of Mustangs football head coach Vincent White, had been dealing with an injured ankle and missed practice time. With his mother and sisters still residing in Pennsylvania, White, also an All-Colorado football player, had returned to his previous home twice for visits over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and Caton has been patient in getting his new player acclimated. He looks forward to more of his contributions.

“He’s finally getting into a rhythm and he had been gone, been injured and only had a third of the days of practice,” Caton said. “Now, we have him going.”

In admitting that it’s not the start to the season he wanted, White said he’s just glad “I’m getting back in shape and back into the flow of things. Coach has asked me to be more aggressive, so I’m going to do what I need to do.”

White entered in the first quarter and scored 11 of his points by halftime as the Mustangs led 39-20. And there were plenty of contributors. Matt Veen added 14 points and Christian Davis had 12. Isaac Ondekane was big inside early on the way to nine points. Vaughnn Stitt also had nine points and Connor Riepma scored six. The Mustangs’ rotation was fluid and only some batches of turnovers and missed free throws (20-of-32) stood out negatively.

“It was a good game for us,” Caton said.

White added “our chemistry has gotten a lot better and I think it will keep getting better.”

 

MULLEN 81, ARAPAHOE 53

Arapahoe  8  12  20  13  --  53

Mullen  24  15  25  17  --  81

Arapahoe – Brophy 0 0-2 0, D’Agostino 8 1-6 18, Stephens 5 9-10 21, Baltzer 2 2-5 6, Sturgeon 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 2-2 2, Hill 0 0-0 0, Liberty 0 0-0 0, Fleming 1 0-0 3, McCann 0 0-0 0, Yagey 1 1-2 3. Totals 17 15-27 53.

Mullen – Davis 3 5-7 12, Veen 5 4-4 14, Stitt 2 3-4 9, Parris 1 0-0 3, Ondekane 4 1-3 9, Riepma 3 0-0 6, White 6 2-2 16, Thompson 0 3-4 3, Lopez 1 0-0 2, Beckish 1 0-0 2, Dominguez 0 2-3 2, Pohs 0 0-0 0, Berg 1 0-0 3. Totals 27 20-32 81.

3-pt. goals – Stephens 2, D’Agostino, Fleming; White 4, Stitt 2, Davis. Fouled out – Liberty. Technical – D.Agostino.

 

Mustangs can’t handle Bruins, fall 69-61

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

After the start to the season they had, it wasn’t the kind of game they thought was coming after the holiday break.

It was frustrating, came unannounced and there wasn’t anything they could do to stop it.

So, yes, the 69-61 home loss to Cherry Creek for Mullen’s Mustangs in their Centennial League opener on Thursday night was quite difficult to swallow. They left the playing surface of Hutchison Fieldhouse disappointed, annoyed, frustrated, surprised and 7-2.

“Oh, yeah, that’s a bad loss,” Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. “It’s like we were one step off … they were quicker than us.”

The wheels started to come off for Mullen in the third quarter. Leading 37-32 at halftime, the Mustangs shot only 3-of-14 over the next 8 minutes and had four turnovers. They followed by surrendering a 20-point fourth quarter.

In all, the Mustangs didn’t handle the Bruins (6-4) out front as Sebastian Cole, Julian Hammond and Myles Purchase regularly got into the lane and beat the Mustangs down the floor in transition. Hammond had a game-high 23 points and the three combined for 35. Plus, the Bruins had a lot of success inside in terms of offensive rebounding and getting to loose balls. Having a 19-6 differential in free-throw attempts also was a problem.

As well, the Mullen offense was stagnant down the stretch. The Mustangs scored just eight points in the third quarter and 24 for the second half. Senior guard Christian Davis, now even more of a target after his thrilling 55-point performance three days before Christmas, led Mullen with 17 points, but the Bruins frequently were ready with their coverage blanket.

“People are going to guard Christian Davis, so we need to keep working and working and working and get to the basket,” Caton said. “We have to dump it inside and score there.”

Junior Isaac Ondekane also contributed 15 points, but, as Caton pointed out, “we got out of sync a little bit. Isaac got into foul trouble, Connor Riepma got into foul trouble. We can’t have that.”

Junior Isaac White contributed three 3-pointers in the second quarter as Mullen flirted with gaining some separation, but it could never break away – too many turnovers, missed shots and squandered opportunities followed.

The league competition isn’t what Mullen faced in December, Caton said, and it’s time to ramp up its attack.

Thirteen more Centennial matchups will follow.

“It’s different competition,” Caton said. “This is a different level and we have to be ready to boost it up ourselves.”

Mullen will host Arapahoe on Saturday, Jan. 5, in league play at 3 p.m.

 

CHERRY CREEK 69, MULLEN 61

Cherry Creek  13  19  20  17  - 69

Mullen  12  25  8  16  -- 61

Cherry Creek – Cole 2 3-4 7, Hammond 9 2-2 23, Purchase 2 1-2 5, Mitchell 2 2-2 6, LeFebre 1 7-9 10, Hausman 2 0-0 4, Hand 5 0-0 14, Jo. Strain 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 15-19 69.

Mullen – Davis 6 1-2 17, Veen 3 2-2 8, Stitt 3 0-0 9, Parris 0 0-0 0, Ondekane 7 1-2 15, Riepma 0 0-0 0, Thompson 1 0-0 3, White 3 0-0 9, Lopez 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 4-6 61.

3-pt. goals – Hand 4, Hammond 3, LeFebre; Davis 4, Stitt 3, White 3, Thompson. Fouled out – Stitt.

 

Davis drives 55

Senior guard white hot in Christmas Classic title game

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

On the final day before the holiday break, Christian Davis decided he would drive 55.

The Mullen senior was warm on Saturday night – white-hot, actually. He scored 55 points as the Mustangs blistered Chatfield 91-58 in the title game of the Mullen Christmas Classic held at Hutchison Fieldhouse.

“I mean, to be honest, I just went out there and played, and my teammates were feeding me. I happened to hit the shots and my mind went blank.”

What wasn’t blank was his box-score line, which is one that will be remembered.

Try and keep up with the following:

--- Davis scored 55 points on just 24 shots.

--- He was 15-of-19 on 3-pointers, 4-of-5 on 2-pointers.

--- His line in the box score? Davis 19 2-2 55.

--- His 15 3s are one shy of the Colorado single-game record.

--- There were virtually no gimmes. He made – and attempted – all of one layup, and it was one in which he made the play on defense to get into transition.

--- He made not one, but two 4-point plays, nailing the 3, then adding the free throws. And those free throws were his team’s only two of the game.

--- His 55 points came over approximately 34 minutes and is tied for the 12th-best performance as a schoolboy.

--- He scored in double figures in every quarter. He made six 3s in the first for 18 points; four 3s, a deuce and a free throw for 15 in the second; three 3s and a free throw for 10 in the third; and two 3s and three deuces for 12 in the fourth.

Do the math. It was awesome, especially in the eyes of his teammates.

“It was ridiculous,” Mustangs senior Matt Veen said. “He couldn’t miss. I’ve never seen it before. He’s one of the best shooters in the state, if not the best. As a teammate, we just wanted to find him and give him the ball.”

Said senior point guard Brady Parris: “it was crazy … Christian and I have played together for so long and we think of ourselves as the ‘Splash Brothers.’ Any time he hits a 3, I’m just as happy as if it was me. I couldn’t be more proud of Christian and this team. It’s a team game.”

Even with Davis deserving all of the attention, Mullen head coach Bob Caton said he was all for it because teammates constantly were looking to share with Davis.

“Yes, it was a great performance by Christian and you know what, by our team to find him,” he said.
“These guys are so great and they were looking for him.”

Mullen moved to 7-1 heading into its Centennial league schedule after the New Year, withstood any moves by the Chargers (6-6) and seemed to enjoy the building excitement generated by Davis, who regularly landed more net than iron. Indeed, the Chargers kept coming, as coach Stephen Schimpeler’s teams usually do, but Davis kept making shots.

Chatfield cut the Mullen lead to 31-30 down the stretch of the second quarter, but the Mustangs and Davis advanced it to 48-38 by halftime.

In all, the two teams combined for 31 3-pointers, 19 by Mullen, and the Mustangs scored 91 points despite going only 2-of-2 at the free-throw line … and, of course, both were by the Davis kid.

No other Mustang reached double figures, but how could they? And no one minded.

“I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait for the rest of the season,” Parris said.

Isaac Ondekane contributed eight points for Mullen, two on a run-away-truck dunk, and had 10 rebounds. Veen dunked a couple of times. And Vaughnn, Stitt, Parris, Veen and whoever else touched the ball seemed to land assists because they would pass to Davis and he would score.

In fact, from the opening tip-off, Davis, positioned in the eight corner, grabbed a pass and drilled his first 3-pointer just 3 seconds into the game.

It was that kind of night for a smooth-stroking guard who didn’t seem to miss and never performs any personal antics on the court to gain attention.

“At the end, when we started to get a cushion, I could take it in a little bit, but we just wanted to win,” Davis said. “I really appreciate my teammates. They had the trust in me and I let it fly.”

Of course, he added, “I dream about a game like this, yeah … even scoring more points … 100!” he laughed. “Just kidding …

“This will be a night to remember.”

And not just for him.

 

MULLEN 91, CHATFIELD 58

Chatfield  16  22  9  11  --  58

Mullen 25  23  21  22  -- 91

Chatfield – Carter2 2-2 8 , Vernon 6 0-0 15, Holmes 2 2-2 8, Carlson 6 0-0 16, Wildermuth 1 0-0 3, Jacobson 2 0-0 4, Goroski 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 4-4 58.

Mullen – Davis 19 2-2 55, Veen 2 0-0 4, Stitt 3 0-0 7, Parris 2 0-0 6, Ondekane 4 0-0 8, White 1 0-0 2, Riepma 0 0-0 0, Lopez 1 0-0 3, Libby 2 0-0 4, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Tekle 0 0-0 0, Berg 0 0-0 0, Dominguez 0 0-0 0, Pohs 2 0-0 4. Totals 35 2-2 91.

3-pt. goals – Carlson 4, Vernon 3, Carter 2, Holmes 2, Wildermuth; Davis 15, Parris 2, Stitt, Lopez. Technical – Mullen, delay of game.

 

FRUITA MONUMENT 68, BROOMFIELD 62: The Wildcats trailed 30-14 early before gradually rallying to handle the Eagles and earn third place.

Fruita Monument (8-4) also pulled away late, outscoring Broomfield 23-11 down the stretch.

Marcus Labonde led the Western Slope Wildcats with 20 points. Reilly Flinn and Ian Barnes each added 17.

For Broomfield, now 2-7, Steven Croell had 20 points and Georgiton added 12.

 

POMONA 59, DENVER SOUTH 52: The Jefferson County Panthers grabbed fifth place by coming alive late against the Rebels.

Pomona improved to 5-3 by outscoring Denver South 20-12 over the final 8 minutes.

Senior guard David Ross had a game-high 18 points for the Panthers. Junior Trevor Baskin added 12.

For the Denver Prep League’s Rebels, who fell to 3-6, Deshon Carter had 12 points and Joshua Singleton contributed 11.

 

HINKLEY 63, GREEN MOUNTAIN 57: The Thunderbirds, who hadn’t won since their opener, snapped a nine-game losing streak by outscoring the Rams 20-12 over the final 8 minutes to take seventh place.

Senior Larenzel Jones had a game-high 23 points for Hinkley, now 2-9. Juniors Delvin Sipple added 15 and Tjai Jackson 11.

For Green Mountain (3-8), loser of six consecutive games, Blake Schell had 21 points. Miles Dempsey and Darius Padilla had 10 each.

 

Davis, Mustangs rout Fruita 81-51

Defense, balance propel a Christmas Classic finals spot

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Entering the second round of their Christmas Classic, Mullen’s Mustangs were keenly aware that always under-the-radar Fruita Monument had a scoring-fest in the previous round.

And they

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Contact: Caton@mullenhigh.com

 

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