Mules vs. Littlefield & Friona (2-2 & 5-2016)
The Mules have been on a roller coaster of late. After defeating the expected district champion Shallowater Mustangs on the road for a high, the Mules fell at home to the Dimmitt Bobcats. The Mules’ decline continued Tuesday when lost to the Littlefield Wildcats 61-49.
Friday the Mules appeared to be back on their way up in the first half when they almost doubled up on the Chieftains 32-17 by the intermission. The Mules started a dive back down and lost most of their advantage in the third quarter. Friona out ran the Mules 17-6 to cut the margin to 38-34 with one period left to play.
The Chiefs jumped in front early in the final quarter. The Mules had to battle back in the final 90 seconds by going six-of-six from the charity line for a 50-45 win. The Mules are currently in a tie for second place with Dimmitt and trail Shallowater by a game.
The Mules fell behind early in the first quarter to the Wildcats and trailed 15-7 after one quarter. Danny Campos and Dagen Dunham took over the Mule offense in the second quarter. Campos got it started with an old-fashion three-point play. Then he added a basket and made a pair of free throws.
Dunham made a steal and drove the floor for a hoop, then made a short jumper and a free throw. Jason Florez hit from near the free throw line to start the second period. The Mules trailed 28-21 at the half.
The third period was not good for the Mules despite Campos scoring eight points. He made the Mules first second half points three and a half minutes into the quarter with a pair of free throws. He made three more hoops before the quarter ended.
Tony Castillo cleaned up a Mule miss by putting back an offensive rebound. Dunham chipped in one free throw. The Mules trailed 43-32 with eight minutes left in the game.
Florez made a free throw to start the start the final quarter for the Mules. Jesse Leal scored on an assist from Dunham. Beto Diaz then sank a 3-pointer and added a basket. Antonio Vasquez put back an offensive rebound. Dunham made a steal and scored before he made a free throw and a hoop. Campos finished with a short jumper on a feed from Diaz.
Campos led the Mules in scoring with 17 points and Dunham was close behind with 16 points. Diaz finished with five points and the Mules’ only trey. Vasquez added four points and Florez made three points. Leal and Castillo chipped in two points each.
Campos got the Mules started against Friona with an assist from Leal. He made two more hoops before the period ended with Vasquez making the assists. Dunham scored on an in bound play and then he sank a 3-pointer. He finished the quarter with a jumper from the elbow.
Donovan Gutierrez put back a rebound for two points and Vasquez made a lay up. Florez and Castillo each scored before the period ended with the Mules lead 21-4.
Florez dropped in a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to start the second quarter. Diaz scored with an assist from Aaryn Ross. Campos put back a rebound and sank four consecutive free throws to end the half with the Mules leading 32-17.
Friona was fired up to start the second half. Dunham scored the Mules first points of the third quarter 30 seconds into the quarter. Diaz made a lay up and Campos scored from the blocks. Friona hit a trey at the buzzer to cut the Mule lead to 38-34.
Friona hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the final period and wrestle the lead from the Mules. Campos put back a pair of rebounds and Dunham made both ends of a pair of one-and-bonus free throws. Florez made two free throws and Diaz finished with a hoop.
Friona had missed a pair of free throws late in the game that left the door open for the Mules to take the lead back.
Campos led the Mules with 18 points and Dunham finished with 13 points. Florez added seven points and Diaz dropped in six points. Castillo, Gutierrez and Vasquez chipped in two points each.
The Mules hosted the Tulia Hornets Tuesday evening and will host the district leading Shallowater Mustangs Friday February 12. The Mules will finish the regular season on the road in Dimmitt February 16 and that game will start at 6:30 PM.