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'Stangs can't handle Valor

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Raegan Beers leads Eagles with 35 points in a 62-51 victory; Mullen hadn't lost consecutive games in Colorado since February 2018.
The last leg of a midseason gauntlet wasn’t kind to Mullen.

A 62-51 defeat to defending Class 5A Colorado champion Valor Christian at Hutchison Fieldhouse on Friday night capped a three-game set against, in order, Grandview, a regular 5A and Centennial League power that contains 6-foot-7 Lauren Betts, a Stanford signee regarded by many as the top recruit in the Class of 2022; Cherry Creek, Colorado’s largest school and the 2020 5A champion; and the Eagles, 5A winners the past season, top-ranked among big schools and led by impressive 6-3 pivot Raegan Beers, who dominated the Mustangs.

All Beers, an Oregon State signee, did was throw down 35 points on a variety of inside moves to send the Eagles to 9-3 and Mustangs, three-time-defending 4A champions and top-ranked in 4A, to 8-4.

“She’s pretty good and we couldn’t handle her,” Mullen head coach Frank Cawley said. “That’s a Murderer’s Row, honestly, credit them … we played some good defensive teams.”

And it was the first time Mullen had lost consecutive games in Colorado since February 2018.

After beating Grandview for the first time in 11 years and 22 games, the Mustangs have hit a mini-wall of sorts, including losing senior Kilah Freelon to an ankle injury early in the defeat to Cherry Creek.

The Mustangs have since been timid on offense.

“We’re struggling,” Cawley said. “We just need some self-confidence, we need to get it back.”

Valor Christian led most of the way and outscored the Mustangs in three of the four quarters. Turnovers again were a problem for the Mustangs as was failing to look at the basket on offense.

“That’s us beating ourselves,” Cawley said. “We’re better than that.”

Imani Perez topped Mullen with 12 points. Evenyce Gutierrez and Allison Schwertner each had 10 and Gracie Gallegos was held to seven.

“We’re passing up a lot of shots,” Cawley said. “I don’t know why that is. I know we don’t have chemistry issues, we’re not selfish or unselfish … I don’t know why we’re not taking the ball and shooting it.

“But we’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out before we play Cherokee Trail (in Aurora on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m.).”

Valor Christian  16  13  20  13  –  62

Mullen  11  8  18  14  --  51

Mullen --  Gutierrez 3 2-3 10, Perez 5 1-2 12, Schwertner 4 1-2 10, Gallegos 2 2-2 7, Jones 1 2-2 4, Giacomin 0 0-0 0, DeLoach 0 0-0 0, Thomas 3 0-0 7, Zienkewicz 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 9-13 51.

3-pt. goals – Gutierrez 2, Gallegos, Perez, Schwertner, Thomas. Fouled out – Perez.