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No. 46 'Stangs eliminate No. 19 Eagles

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Senior Ethan Heffern drills 8 3-pointers as Mullen whips host Broomfield 59-38 in the 1st round of the 5A playoffs; Mullen advances to the 2nd round at Doherty on Saturday.
BROOMFIELD -- It has been going on since Dr. James Naismith, also a Christian chaplain, invented basketball.

Shooters shoot.

And when they feel it, man, they feel it.

Ethan Heffern felt it.

The Mullen senior buried eight 3-pointers on Wednesday night as the Mustangs easily knocked off host Broomfield 59-38 in the first round of the Class 5A Colorado playoffs.

As the No. 46 seed, Mullen moved to 9-14 and will play in Colorado Springs against No. 14 Doherty. The second-rounder will be Saturday at 6 p.m., Mustangs head coach Bob Caton said. Broomfield, the No. 19 seed, ended 14-10.

Heffern’s eight 3-pointers led to a game-high and career-high 28 points. He made eight of his first 10 shots and nearly jarred one from behind half-court at the end of a quarter.

“We were in here early shooting and it felt good,” he said. “It was release and bang!  I found my spot and just kept shooting. They kept going in.”

The Mustangs trailed only briefly in the second quarter and generally dominated. Even when they had miscues, the Eagles seemed to give back some of their own.

It was never really in doubt as Heffern said “it feels good to come into the playoffs as the 46th seed and knock out a 19 ... they didn’t know what was coming.”

Caton, himself a sniper at times for Denver West and Colorado State decades ago, was thrilled with Heffern’s shooting, but also gave considerable credit to assistants who have straightened out Mullen’s defense that has been effective and consistent in recent outings.

“Coach (Arlandus) Lowe and (Chris) Crosby had the defensive game plan, so hats off to them,” he said. “They’ve really been getting these kids ready.”

Said Heffern: “We changed the whole mindset on defense. Guys are going out there and defending.”

Broomfield managed only five points in the second quarter and nine in the third. It also took a heave beyond half-court for a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of the first quarter for the Eagles to tie it at 10.

Heffern was scoreless in the fourth quarter, but had considerable help. Both sophomore Jordan Leslie and senior Josh Lopez had 11 points with all of Lopez’s coming on free throws. Junior Hunter Lay added six. The Mustangs also were 23-of-31 at the free-throw line and protected the ball late.

And despite Micah Leslie being held to one point, he teamed with virtually every other Mustang who saw the floor for the defense and rebounding that were vital.

“It was a great win,” Caton said.

Mullen  10  17  16  16  --  59 

Broomfield  10  5  9  14  --  38

Mullen --  J. Leslie 3 5-8 11, Lopez 0 11-13 11, Heffern 10 0-0 28, Smith 0 0-0 0, M. Leslie 0 1-2 1, Lay 1 4-6 6, Roth 0 0-0 0, Jerez 0 0-0 0, Diasselliss 0 2-2 2, Jones 0 0-0 0, Castillo 0 0-0 0, Brendle 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 23-31 59.

Broomfield  --  Dunn 0 0-0 0, Juarez 4 3-4 14, Estebanes 2 3-3 7, Duplechin 0 0-0 0, Galka 2 0-1 5, Caudill 2 0-0 5, Bratcher 0 0-0 0, Christianson 1 2-2 4, Harris 1 1-2 4, Walton 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-12 38.

3-pt. goals – Heffern 8; Huarez 3, Caudill, Galka. Fouled out – Galka.