Mules vs. Littlefield & Tulia (1-28 & 31)
The Mules enjoyed a good week as they hit the road to Littlefield and had to work their way out of a seven-point hole they had dug in the opening period. The Mules were out of the hole by the half and led the Wildcats 23-20 at the intermission.
Littlefield had worked their way back to a 41-40 lead by the end of the third quarter. Neither team was hot from the charity line but the Mules battled for all eight minutes and defeated Littlefield 59-55 to stay in the hunt for a state playoff spot.
Tulia visited the Mules Friday night and the Mules leaped out to a 38-11 lead in the first half and then pushed the cruise button. The Mules defeated the Hornets 54-34.
Dagen Dunham put back a rebound to get the Mules started in Littlefield. He added a second hoop before the period ended. Eli Leal also grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up strong for his first hoop of the night. Jason Florez finished a fast break to end the period with the Mules trailing 15-8.
Blayne Shipman put back a rebound for the Mules first points of the second period. Later Leal drove and drew the defense. He then dished to Shipman for a point-blank shot. Florez lob the ball over the defense to Dunham and he scored from inside the blocks.
Danny Campos hit a baseline jump shot. Leal made a pair of free throws to briefly put the Mules in front. He later hit from the elbow to tie the game at 20-20. Grey Johnson set up out side the arc and Shipman passed him the ball from the blocks. Johnson sank a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Mules a 23-20 lead at the half.
Leal made a free throw to start the third period and Nacho Elizalde added a pair of charity tosses. Dunham, Campos and Shipman made a basket each in the period. Matt Barron made a steal and drove to the hoop and then took over the game.
Barron scored three more baskets to keep the Mules close. The Mules trailed by a single point after Littlefield hit three 3-pointers in the quarter.
Barron led off the final quarter where he left off in the third frame with a fast break basket. He scored twice more and converted one free throw for an old-fashion 3-point play. Leal lobbed the ball over the defender that was fronting Dunham. Dunham grabbed the pass and immediately banked the ball off the glass for an easy hoop.
Campos missed two sets of free throws before sinking his final pair of charity tosses. Johnson scored from inside the arc and Leal made a perfect dish to Elizalde following on a fast break. Elizalde was uncovered a scored. Leal drove the final four nails in the Wildcat’s coffin from the free throw line.
Barron scored all of his game high 15 points in the second half and Leal added 11 points for the Mules. Dunham quietly dropped in 10 points and Campos and Shipman made six points each. Johnson had five points, Elizalde made four and Florez chipped in two points.
The Tulia game may have seemed like a walk in the park for the Mules after having played Littlefield. Elizalde was on the receiving end of a Leal pass for a short shot. Barron went coast-to-coast for a lay up.
Dunham stuck back a rebound for points and Leal battled through a Hornet foul and made the lay up but missed the charity toss. He sank a 3-pointer before the Hornets scored to break the Mules’ 11 point scoring run.
Leal scored three more baskets and two free throws for 13 of his game high 22 points. The Mules led the Hornets 23-4 after one quarter.
Elizalde also opened the second quarter with a hoop as a result of an assist from Leal. Barron sank a trey and two free throws to end the first half with 11 of his 14 points. Elizalde scored on an assist from Elizalde. Leal drove the floor for his first hoop and then scored from the elbow. The Mules had pushed their lead to 38-11 at the half.
The Mules cruised through the second half.
Leal led the way with 22 points and Barron finished with 14. Dunham, Austin Ross and Elizalde dropped in six points apiece.
The Mules traveled to Abernathy Tuesday to take on the district leading Antelopes. The Mules will play a practice game at 6:30 PM Friday in the high school gym and then will complete their regular season in Friona against the Chieftains February 11.