Mules vs. Canadian (2-18-14)
The Mules tangled with the Wildcats of Canadian Tuesday night for the Bi-District gold ball on the floor of the Randall Raiders’ Gym. The Wildcats seemed to have quickness to burn and their passing game was not textbook perfect.
But the Cats seemed to always be cutting to the basket when the pass arrived. They had jumped out to a 34-17 lead near the end of the second but the Mules were not finished. They began to battle back and trailed 34-20 by the intermission.
“The boys played hard tonight,” said Mule coach Clay White. “I was very proud of their effort tonight and all season. We have developed and gotten better with each game. Tonight was a little like our season in that we had our ups and downs but always worked hard.”
The kept their scoring run going into the second half with a 10-0 run to open the third quarter and cut Canadian’s advantage to just four points. The Cats began to score again and opened a 46-38 lead by the end of the third quarter.
The Mules made a final run at the Wildcats in the fourth period and were as close as four points but could get no closer. Canadian held on for the win by making their free throws down the stretch. Canadian had out scored the Mules 62-53 by the end of the night.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach (Clay) White and what he has done with the Mules,” said Canadian Wildcat coach, Johnny Hudson. “They really made it hard on us in the second half and I congratulate them.”
Dagen Dunham answered a Canadian hoop to tie the game at 2-2 with 6:26 left in the first period. He added a second basket and Wes Clarkson put back a long rebound. Eli Leal dropped in a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Mules their only lead of the night 9-8.
Canadian added a pair of unanswered baskets before the quarter ended to lead the Mules 12-9 at the first quarter break.
The Mules did not seem to be able to buy a basket in the second quarter and Matt Barron finally made a free throw almost half way through the period. He then made a hoop and added a second free throw before the half ended. Dunham grabbed an offensive rebound and banked the ball off the glass for a basket.
Nacho Elizalde drove the baseline, pulled up and used a head fake to get the Cats’ big man off his feet. Elizalde then went up and shot over the out stretched hands of the big defender. Leal finished the quarter with a free throw and a hoop. The Mules had cut the Canadian lead from 34-17 to 34-20 by the half.
Coach White must have pulled out the stops during his speech to the Mules at the intermission as the Mules appeared to have returned to the floor with a plan. Elizalde cranked the Mule offense and started the scoring run with a basket 20 seconds into the second half. He added a second hoop before the quarter ended.
Leal penetrated twice and scored a pair of lay ups. Ross broke through the Wildcats’ back door and took a lob pass from Barron for a short jumper. He made a second basket later in the quarter.
Danny Campos and Blayne Shipman both scored in the paint in the third quarter. Barron added a pair of charity tosses. The Mules had out scored the Cats 18-12 to trail 46-38.
The Mules went to full-court pressure in the final frame and held Canadian scoreless for the first three minutes.
Ross scored the Mules opening hoop of the last quarter. Campos scored in the paint and Blaine Hurtado dropped in a 3-pointer. Elizalde hit from the elbow and Leal chipped in a free throw.
Barron made a basket and then hit from outside the arc. The Mules had cut the deficit to four points with just over four minutes remaining in the period but could not over take the Wildcats.
Barron made all 11 of his points in the last three quarters while Leal scored his 11 points with at least one point in each period. Elizalde added eight points to the effort and Dunham and Ross finished with six points each. Campos made four points, Hurtado had three points and Clarkson and Shipman chipped in two points each.
The Mules have already began working on Spring sports.