Saturday’s first game of the day began with #4 Pueblo South Colts taking on the #14 Mullen Mustangs. Both teams defeated higher seeded teams to get to the 4A Finals, but only one could walk away as this year’s 4A champions. For the Mullen Mustangs, they end the 2018-2019 season as the 4A Girls Basketball Champions, their first state title since 2006. On the other side of the ball, Pueblo South came up just short for the third time in the 4A championship.
The first half was a defensive struggle for the teams; both traded baskets, and found ways to stop their opponent from gaining any sustainable momentum. Pueblo South looked strong out of the gate taking a 7-3 lead after back-to-back possessions resulted in scores by junior Jada Dupree. Mullen stormed right back with five points of their own to get within one. That was the closest Mullen would get for the remainder of the quarter, as the Colts took a 15-10 lead into the second.
After a quick break, Mullen was first to strike with a driving basket by senior Iliana Perez. The Colts could not capitalize on their possession leading to a deep corner shot by freshman Imani Perez to bring Mullen back to within one, 15-14. Pueblo South’s senior center, Gabi Lucero, used a mismatch to her advantage to push the Colts’ lead back to three, but a step back three-pointer by Iliana Perez knotted things up at seventeen. As Mullen closed the gap on Pueblo South, the teams found themselves tied two more times in the quarter before the Colts were able to take a 23-21 lead with under a minute following two free-throws by Lucero.
With halftime in the books, Mullen sophomore Megan Pohs drained a three-pointer to begin the second half, giving the Mustangs a 24-23 lead. For the next three minutes of the quarter the lead changed three times before Mullen was able to take a 28-26 lead as quick passing found sophomore Alexa Dominguez underneath the basket. Mullen never looked back after taking the lead, outscoring Pueblo South 12-7 for the remainder of the third.
Foul trouble began an issue late in the third for Pueblo South as Lucero picked up her fourth foul with 35.1 seconds remaining in the quarter. Lucero was clearly distraught on the bench knowing that without her presence in the paint, Mullen was going to be able to control the boards and interior on both ends of the court.
Without the confidence to attack defensively, Pueblo South watched Mullen attack inside and kick the ball outside, shooting eight of thirteen in the second half. The Mustangs proved to be too much to handle after halftime, doubling up Pueblo South’s output, 42-21 en route to their 63-44 victory and a 4A title.
The Colts once again found themselves taking home second place in 4A, but they put their heart and soul on the court. Junior Jada Dupree finished with a team-high 16 points in addition to her three rebounds and one assist. Senior Gabi Lucero finished her Colts career with a double-double behind 14 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Drea Nelson ended her Pueblo South career with five points and five rebounds. Freshman Kenzie Patterson came away with five points and four rebounds of her own.
The Mustangs are a deep team of youth. Despite being young, this team is mature and ready to ball with the best of them. Senior Iliana Perez was lights out from beyond the arc going four for four to finish her Mullen career with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Sophomores Megan Pohs, Abby Webster, Elaina Martinez, and Alexa Dominguez combined for 40 points and 15 rebounds for Mullen. Pohs had 16 points and six rebounds. Webster finished with 12 points and one rebound. Martinez was next with eight points and two rebounds. Dominguez rounded them out with four points and six rebounds. Freshman Imani Perez was limited to only six points, but she made up for it with 14 rebounds.