Jacob a major part of Mullen’s horsepower
On a checklist of what it takes to win a championship, the Mullen girls basketball team can mark off every box.
The Mustangs have a bona fide star in senior Whitney Jacob, who coach Frank Cawley said is the best all-around player he’s had at Mullen.
They have depth with the likes of savvy senior point guard Tori Galvan and the junior twin tandem of Sydney Congdon and Jaden Congdon, a trio of underrated players who might be able to help the Mustangs dethrone two-time defending Class 4A champion Valor Christian come state tournament time.
Perhaps most important, the Mustangs possess the intangible of experience, with the majority of their starters and bench players back from last season’s 18-9 squad.
It all makes for a giant, gold ball opportunity — one that Jacob and her teammates aren’t taking lightly as Mullen eyes its first state title since 2006 and fifth overall.
“We definitely have a high confidence level coming off last year and making the Great 8, but we know that we have to work harder this year because we want to go further than that,” Jacob said. “Our chemistry is really good and we always work hard in practice, so I think we have a good chance to make a run.”
Cawley installed a new four-out offense this season, one that’s tailored to a roster heavy on versatile guards who compete hard on both ends of the floor for the Mustangs, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A.
“Defensively, I’m very happy with where we are,” Cawley said. “We take a lot of pride in that defensive identity, but we’re struggling a little bit on offense so far. We’re getting a lot of good looks; they’re just not falling right now.”
The play of Galvan is crucial for Mullen to reach its full offensive potential. The senior point guard — who’s headed to play at Regis University next year, along with Jacob — is already putting herself on the opposition’s radar.
“Tori is the one that stirs the drink, because even though she and Whitney are both captains, she’s our motor,” Cawley said. “We’re going to go as far as Tori takes us.”
And with a tough schedule that’s already featured No. 3 Holy Family and No. 4 Evergreen, the going won’t get any easier. Looming is the Tarkanian Classic against nationally elite competition Dec. 17-20, followed by Centennial League play after winter break in which Mullen plays Class 5A powers No. 1 Grandview, No. 4 Cherry Creek and No. 7 Arapahoe two times each.
“Our record’s going to be a bit of a misnomer, because there will be 4A teams with much better records than us,” Cawley said. “But there isn’t going to be a 4A team in the state that plays higher competition than us, so I’m excited about how the RPI works for us. We’ll be battle ready when the playoffs start.”
Whitney Jacob looks for a passing lane against Heritage.