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Lopez, 'Stangs grind out victory

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Senior Josh Lopez makes 10-of-10 free throws in 43-37 road victory over Grandview in Aurora to open the Centennial League.
 
AURORA – Some would call it ugly.

Bob Caton called it “ a good team win.”

Mullen opened its Centennial League schedule on Wednesday night with a hard-fought 43-37 victory over host Grandview.

How hard was it?

Mullen, in improving to 4-4 overall, failed to make a basket in the fourth quarter and beat the 2-8 Wolves for a third consecutive time after dropping 18 of the previous 19.

“That’s right,” Caton said in acknowledging that it wasn’t pretty to view, but certainly effectivein the standings and as a learning tool. “We had 10 guys contribute, which was good. They did a good job. We battled back.”

Trailing 16-15, the Mustangs surged in the third quarter before putting it away down the stretch by making 11-of-14 free throws, notably eight-of-eight by senior guard Josh Lopez. He finished with a team-high 13 points, including 10-of-10 at the foul line.

Lopez said his father, who usually doesn’t miss a minute, “wasn’t here tonight and he always tells me to get on my toes. I can hear him. I was pretending he was here and knocking them down.”

Sophomore Jordan Leslie added 11 points before fouling out and Hunter Lay contributed six off the bench.

The Mustangs also welcomed the season debut of senior Micah Leslie, who was coming off knee surgery.

“We have to protect the ball better when the games are close,” Caton said. “We have to get better at it in the games through practice. But this was a good one for us.”
 
MULLEN 43, GRANDVIEW 37

Mullen  9  6  17  11  -- 43

Grandview  5  11  10  11  --  37

Mullen – J. Leslie 4 1-1 11, Lopez 1 10-10 13, Heffern 1 2-2 5, Smith 1` 0-0 2, M. Leslie 1 1-4 3, Castillo 1 -0 3, Diasselliss 0 0-0 0, Roth 0 0-0 0, Jerez 0 0-0 0, Lay 3 0-0 6. Totals 12 14-17 43.

Grandview – Rullo 0 0-0 0, Smith 2 1-2 6, Kibbee 7 1-2 15, Anderson 1 1-2 3, Strong 3 1-1 7, Elliott 2 0-0 4, Hemming 0 2-3 2, Riddick 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 6-10 37.

3-pt. goals -- J. Leslie 2, Castillo, Heffern, Lopez; Smith. Fouled out – J. Leslie; Kibbee.
 
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