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'Stangs scratch an 11-year itch

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen finishes 12-2 in the Centennial League and grabs runner-up for the first time since the 2009-10 season; Senior Day results in a 62-48 victory over a good Arapahoe.
It was win all the way around for Mullen in a Saturday afternoon matinee.

In wrapping up their regular season, the Mustangs handled Arapahoe 62-48 at Hutchison Fieldhouse to clinch second place in the Centennial League. It also gave the Mustangs a 12-2 overall and league record, and it’s their best showing in league since the 2009-10 season.

Mullen’s only losses have been to nationally ranked and Class 5A No. 1 Grandview.

In addition, the Mustangs enjoyed a Senior Day in which five of the six 12th-graders got to start and they built an early lead, 24-15 after a quarter.

Furthermore, they welcomed the return of talented junior Kilah Freelon, who had been sidelined with concussion issues; senior Megan Pohs got closer to 1,000 career points; they went against another good 5A team (the Warriors are 10-4, 10-4); and, hopefully, solidified a high seed into the new 32-team 4A playoff bracket that is to be released Sunday, March 7.

“We’ll see where they’ll put us,” Mustangs head coach Frank Kelly said.

The Mustangs have won six games in succession, including twice against 2019 5A champion and 2020 finalist Cherry Creek, Colorado’s largest school.

“And I think that’s a good team,” Cawley said about the Warriors. “(Head coach) Jerry (Knafelc) does a great job and it’s good for us to have that type of game going into the playoffs.”

With everyone back from a season ago, Mullen will be confident heading into the playoffs.

“It feels good to be No. 2 (in the league), we hadn’t been No. 2 in a while,” Mustangs guard Elaina Martinez said. “Having our whole team back going into the playoffs is nice.”

Senior Jessica Oates-Stamm said “I think we’re all excited. We have a deep tam, so we’re looking for another championship. We’re trying to get that last one before we go.”

Another senior Abby Webster, agreed: “I think there’s a big sense of excitement. The seniors want to win and I think we’re pretty confident in our skillset and ability.”

Junior Gracie Gallegos topped Mullen with 16 points. All old, all nine players who saw time scored, notably Freelon, who had eight points and handfuls of rebounds and blocked shots, as did Imani Perez.

Pohs had eight points and is within 27 of the significant, four-digit career mark.

Cawley said he will preach his usual sermon, getting his players to worry about one game at a time ... as well as to continue with significant defense.

“I told the girls that offensively, we’re going to have our ups and downs, hills and valleys,” he said, “but, boy, our defense and rebounding is pretty solid. I’m proud of that. As long as we maintain that, we’ll be OK.”

Arapahoe 15  10  12  11  --  48

Mullen  24  12  10  16  --  62

Arapahoe – Tummala 0 3-4 3, Shaw 1 0-0 2, Edwards 6 2-2 14, Simonson 0 1-2 1, Crispe 9 6-6 26, Stark 0 0-0 0, Taliaferro 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 14-16 48.

Mullen – Martinez 2 0-0 5, Dominguez 4 0-0 8, Oates-Stamm 1 0-0 2, Van Horn 2 0-0 4, Webster 2 0-0 5, Perez 3 0-0 6, Gallegos 6 2-3 16, Pohs 3 0-0 8, Freelon 3 2-4 8. Totals 26 4-7 62.

3-pt. goals – Crispe 2; Gallegos 2, Pohs 2, Martinez, Webster.