By Delton Wilhite, Sportswriter
The Mules could not keep up with the taller and more skilled Littlefield Wildcats Tuesday evening. The Mules lost the game 66-20. The Idalou Wildcats were a different story, and the Mules battled back to tie the game at 29-29 at the intermission.
The Mules did not play the second half with the same intensity as they did the first. The Mules fell 71-47.
“I can take the loss to a much better basketball team,” said Mule coach Humberto Gonzalez. “Littlefield is probably the best team we have played in the district. However, I have to chalk up our loss to Idalou, to our lack of basketball IQ.”
“We are working hard on improving our IQ, so we know how to react to different situations. These guys are learning every day.”
Raul Sierra had the Mules only hoop of the opening period against Littlefield. The Mules trailed 24-2 after the first period.
The Mules got their feet under them in the second period. Brady Martinez converted a three-point play to open the second quarter. Romeo Reyes floated in a layup, and Jacob Barron chipped in a free throw. Sierra sank a 16-foot jumper. The Mules trailed 35-10 at the intermission.
The Mules fell back in a scoring funk in the third period and only made four points. Wyatt Parker was crushed as he attempted to shoot from the blocks. The foul was called, and Parker made both shots from the charity line. Isaac Mendoza scored the Mules only other hoop of the quarter. The Mules trailed 22-14 with eight minutes left to play.
Martinez dropped in a jump shot to open the final period. Reyes added a layup and chipped in a pair of free throws.
Reyes led the Mules with six points, and Martinez dropped in five points. Sierra added four points. Mendoza and Parker finished with two points each. Barron chipped on one point.
The Mules fell behind the Idalou Wildcats 17-12. Israel Vasquez started the Mules off with a free throw. Sierra dropped in a 3-pointer from the left wing. Barron drove the lane for a layup and then dropped in a trey from the top of the key. Martinez hit from behind the arc for a trey.
The Mules reversed the table and outscored the Wildcats17-12 in the second period to tie the game at 29-29 at the intermission. Ethan Villa scored from the elbow thirty seconds into the second period. He added two more hoops before the half ended.
Martinez sank his second trey of the game, and then picked a Wildcats’ pocket and drove the floor for a layup. Sierra picked off an Idalou pass and took the ball to the other end for a layup. Vasquez chipped in a free throw and tied the game at 29-29 with a 3-pointer.
The Mules struggled to get started in the second half. Martinez kept the game tied with a hoop at 31-31. Villa dropped in a trey from the left wing, and Vasquez chipped in a free throw. The Mules trailed Idalou 50-35 with one quarter left to play.
Idalou repeated with a second 21-point quarter and held the Mules to 12. Mendoza scored from near the blocks. Vasquez was fouled shooting a trey and converted all three ensuing free throws. He later added a basket. Barron made a short jumper with time running down. Barron got the ball back and fired up a deep trey that silently slipped through the net.
Vasquez led the Mules with 11 points. Martinez and Barron added 10 points each. Villa had nine points, and Sierra finished with five points. Mendoza chipped in two points.
The Mules are 2-5 after the first round of district and are tied with Friona and Slaton for fifth place. The Mules hosted the 5-2 Dimmitt Bobcats Tuesday night and will travel to Slaton Friday to tangle with the Tigers. The Mules return home January 30 to host the Friona Chieftains.