The game and match were in Jessica Oates-Stamm’s hands.
“I was nervous,” the senior admitted.
But the three-time champion in girls basketball delivered – she dropped in an ace to the back of the Arapahoe line on Tuesday night as the Mustangs finally outlasted the Warriors 25-18, 20-25, 25-13, 16-25, 15-12 in Centennial League play at Hutchison Fieldhouse.
It was the first time in the new Season C that the Mustangs hadn’t been involved in a sweep.
Mullen climbed back over .500 at 5-4 overall and in league, and kept the Warriors winless at 0-3. Correct, they are just 0-3 at this point as they have had multiple coronavirus (COVID-19) problems in a tough stretch. In fact, the two games they won against the Mustangs were their first of the season and they are looking at a high number of matches, including doubleheaders, in the coming days to complete their schedule.
It also added to their hunger as they gave the Mustangs all they wanted … and Mullen, which swept the Warriors on the road on March 17 to open the season (the Warriors’ most-recent match), dutifully responded in a back-and-forth match.
“It was a rollercoaster,” Mustangs senior Caroline Harmon said.
Oates-Stamm’s final serve ended what had been a big bid by the Warriors “and I think we did a good job fighting it off,” she said.
Mullen head coach Jeff Oliver said “we didn’t make some good decisions at times and gave away points. We need to make (opponents) earn points. There were just too many mistakes on our side.”
The scores were indicative of the night – Mullen cruised in Game 1; fell behind in the middle of Game 2 and couldn’t keep up late; rolled in Game 3; and were basically handled, including through their own errors, in Game 4.
And in Game 5, the Mustangs trailed 7-3 and 12-10 before rallying for the match’s final five points.
“It’s almost like when we win,” Oliver said, “then we let up too easily. Like in basketball, when you don’t have the game start at zero again … here you start at zero and we let them in ... but it was great we found a way with heart to win.”
Said Oates-Stamm: “We’re getting better at chemistry and I think if we keep going, we have a chance.”
Mullen will be at Overland (1-7, 1-6) on Wednesday, April 7, to complete the current week before re-running the league gauntlet again next week, when it will host Cherry Creek on April 13, and Eaglecrest on April 14. The Mustangs will welcome Cherokee Trail on April 20, and be at Grandview on April 21.
Class 4A Mullen currently sits in fifth place behind the above teams in the 5A loop.