Step-by-step, Mullen girls are rolling through Colorado’s Class 4A postseason bracket.
Their latest entry was a thorough 77-31 pasting of Berthoud at Hutchison Fieldhouse, a Class 4A Sweet 16 victory that also was the Mustangs’ 16th playoff victory in succession over four seasons that have produced the past three championships.
Now 18-6, the second-seeded Mustangs move on to Friday quarterfinals. They will host No. 7 Roosevelt at 6 p.m.
The Spartans, who trailed 25-0, ended 18-7.
Once again, Mullen’s defense fueled everything, notably its transition game, and the passing while running sets was probably as good as it has been throughout 2021-22.
“We put in some stuff against their zone,” head coach Frank Cawley said. “We were so good in transition and it all starts on defense. And that’s pretty good.”
When Berthoud got its first points in the closing moments of the opening quarter, six Mustangs had broken into the scoring column and the No. 15 Spartans had about as many combined turnovers, missed shots and shots getting blocked, including on the perimeter, as Mullen had points.
“We’re in a situation,” Cawley said, “where if we play defense like that, we can be great.”
Thirteen Mustangs scored, the starters were generally done halfway through the second quarter and Cawley again advised that it may be pertinent the rest of the way for those in the rotation and substitutes to be prepared for quality minutes. And a lot of the subs saw a lot of minutes.
Gracie Gallegos and Allison Schwertner each scored 11 points and Kilah Freelon added nine. Guard Hannah Giacomin, who is seeing more minutes with her ability to shoot from the perimeter, added seven.
A senior who’s also on the golf team, Giacomin admitted that it “can be intimidating” when hitting the floor for the Mustangs with the likes of the gifted Freelon (headed to Texas Tech), Gallegos (UC-San Diego) and Imani Perez (Hawaii), “but I just try to play my game with these seniors. It’s so much fun to play with them.”
And of the Mustangs’ crack passing, Giacomin said it was obvious “we saw the court really well today.”
Friday’s game will be the finale for Mullen’s 12th-graders as ensuing rounds will be contested at the Denver Coliseum.
MULLEN 77, BERTHOUD 31
Berthoud 2 8 9 12 -- 31
Mullen 27 14 21 15 -- 77
Mullen -- Gutierrez 3 0-0 7, Perez 2 0-0 4, Freelon 4 1-1 9, Schwertner 5 1-1 11, Gallegos 5 0-0 11, Giacomin 3 0-0 7, Jones 4 0-0 8, DeLoach 2 0-0 4, Thomas 2 0-0 5, Zienkewicz 0 4-4 4, Wood 0 0-0 0, Wright 1 0-0 2, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Arangua-Egbert 1 0-0 2. Totals 33 6-6 77.
3-pt. goals – Gallegos, Giacomin, Gutierrez, Thomas.