Defending champs open with blowout victory

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
'Stangs girls roll Grand Junction 63-17 in tourney.

CASTLE ROCK -- The feeling was predictable – it was nice to play a game. Finally.

Forgive the Mullen Mustangs’ lack of patience heading into Wednesday night’s first round of the Castle View/ThunderRidge Tip-Off Tournament that resulted in a 63-17 whipping of Grand Junction. The last time the Mustangs laced up their sneakers was in the Class 4A Colorado championship game nine months ago.

“Yeah, it felt real good,” Mustangs junior Megan Pohs said. “We’ve been looking forward to this since March 10 (when they rolled Holy Family at the Denver Coliseum), coach (Frank) Cawley said.”

Said Cawley: “We got the big one out of the way, that first one … and the defense was exactly what we asked.”

True. Mullen, in winning its ninth consecutive game over two seasons, was all over the Tigers. The Mustangs forced the Tigers into more turnovers than shots and held them to single-digit points in the first half, a scoreless second quarter and a stretch of more than 13 minutes without a basket.

Defense also allowed the Mustangs to spark their offense and further their rotation, which appears to have a chance to be deep as well as ready for when it’s needed.

“I have confidence in all of them,” Cawley said of his players.

Mullen was coming off its Foundation Game, basically an extra scrimmage played under game conditions and for a state fee, the past Saturday that resulted in a not-so-great result and effort against always good 5A Highlands Ranch.

Spanking Grand Junction lifted confidence across the roster.

“We definitely played a lot better and after the Highlands Ranch game it made us play better as a team,” Pohs said. “It was a learning experience for us. It opened our eyes. We saw where we’re at.”

Cawley added: “I don’t think anyone hurt themselves tonight. It’s such an unselfish team.”

Pohs led all scorers with 15 points. Junior Alexa Dominguez added 10 and was cited by Cawley for her versatility as well as uncanny ability to regularly rebound and be around the ball. Ten Mustangs scored.

They will be back at it in Round 2 on Friday at 7 p.m. against Dakota Ridge.

Grand Junction 6 0 5 6 -- 17

Mullen 20 15 15 13 -- 63

Grand Junction – Yang 1 0-0 2, Laffler 1 0-0 2, Buckley 1 1-2 3, DeGeorge 2 0-0 4, Hanlon 1 0-0 2, Medina 0 0-0 0, Geisler 1 0-0 2, Ballard 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Rose 1 0-0 2. Totals 8 1-2 17.

Mullen – Pohs 6 0-0 15, Martinez 3 0-0 7, Van Horn 3 0-0 7, Perez 2 0-0 4, Gallegos 2 1-2 6, Dominguez 5 0-1 10, Webster 2 0-0 4, Elges 1 0-0 2, Freelon 2 1-2 5, Gutierrez 0 0-0 0, Oates-Stamm 1 0-0 3. Totals 27 2-3 63.

3-pt. goals – Pohs 3, Gallegos, Martinez, Oates-Stamm, Van Horn.