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Mullen rolls Smoky Hill

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mustangs blow out Buffaloes 73-27 in league; victory snaps 2-game losing streak and stretch of four losses in 7 games; Freelon returns from injury.
“We needed that,” Mullen head coach Frank Cawley said.

Yes, they did. Mullen’s Mustangs earned a much-needed laugher of sorts heading into the final weeks of the regular season. They blew out Smoky Hill 73-27 on Friday night at Hutchison Fieldhouse in the Centennial League to move to 12-6 overall, 4-3 in league.

The three-time defending and second-ranked Class 4A champions had been enduring a rough stretch – for them – by losing their past two games and winning just three of the previous seven.

However, their matchup with the struggling 5A Buffaloes (11-6, 0-2), who are playing a lighter schedule by design, including in league, as well as the return of senior Kilah Freelon from an ankle injury made for a welcomed night.

“We’re so much better with her,” Cawley said. “The energy is better, the intensity is better, the chemistry is better …. no question she makes a difference and gives us a spark.”

Freelon, signed with Texas Tech and probably the best schoolgirl leaper in years, came off the bench for 14 points as Mullen enjoyed a parade of scoring. The Mustangs led 45-12 at halftime as Gracie Gallegos scored 20 of her game-high 22 points.  

All told, 12 Mustangs played and 11 scored, notably Ryker Thomas, a freshman bidding for key minutes. She contributed, said she watches play like a hawk from the bench and is intent on contributing. And she knows she may be called upon when the postseason arrives.

“At first,” Thomas said, “I was really nervous, but then we kept passing and finishing, and held together for a good win. I played a lot more than I normally do, so I got confident.”

Cawley said his team also had a few crack practices and has been preaching for his players to shoot the ball and be confident about it … “and they did,” he said.

Mullen won’t play again until Thursday, Feb. 9, at Overland in Aurora, 5:30 p.m.

Smoky Hill  8  4  13  2  --  27

Mullen  22  23  19  9  --  73

Smoky Hill – McNeal 2 0-0 4, S­tangle 3 0-0 7, Perez 3 1-2 8, Garland 0 2-4 2, Johnson 2 0-4 4, Amaro 1 0-0 2, Vasquez 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 3-10 27.

Mullen --  Gutierrez 1 0-0 3, Perez 2 0-0 4, Schwertner 4 1-1 9, Gallegos 10 1-3 22, Jones 4 0-0 8, Freelon 7 0-0 14, Giacomin 0 0-2 0, Thomas 3 2-2 8, DeLoach 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 1-2 1, Zienkewicz 1 0-0 2, Arangua-Egbert 1 0-0 2. Totals 33 5-10 73.

3-pt. goals – Stangle, Perez; Gallegos, Gutierrez.