LAFAYETTE — The Dawson School boys basketball team expected to be a much-improved unit with a senior-heavy lineup and first-year head coach Chris Mischke leading the way this season.
More than two-thirds of the way into the season, the Mustangs have been as advertised.
The Mustangs have won three of their last four games and on Monday night — with a 51-29 win over Lyons — picked up their eighth victory of the campaign with four games left to play. That mark already matches their win total from last season.
"Yeah, I think we've beaten some teams that people maybe didn't expect us to," Mischke said. "I think we're hitting that grind right now where the kids are tired. We've got a few weeks left and they're playing through it. We lose a lot of seniors after the season so we're trying to make every game count."
For their latest victory, the Mustangs (8-7, 5-4 Mile High) clamped down in the second half. Leading 27-19 at halftime, the Mustangs held the Lions (4-12, 1-6 Mile High) to two points in the third quarter to pull away.
Playing a bit shorthanded, the Mustangs still reached their average against a scrappy defensive Lions squad that had held its first 15 opponents under 50 points.
"Longmont Christian was a big win for us last week but our starting point guard got banged up, he hurt his back in that one," Mischke said. "Plus we had two guys out sick tonight. We struggled a little tonight but Elijah Bacher, man, he had 15 rebounds. That's the kind of effort we need to start getting from all our guys."
The Mustangs' leading scorer this season, Bacher (9.5 ppg) led all scorers with 15 points.
For the Lions, however, Monday's loss was their fourth in a row. Averaging just 34.38 points per game, scoring points has been the Lions' biggest problem in 2015-16. It was again against the Mustangs.
"We started out with a decent half but we were flat coming out of the locker room," Lions head coach Andrew Smith said. "It's just been a tough season because we lost too many points from last year. We're getting all the shots we want and defensively we're holding teams under what we did last year. We just can't convert."
The Mustangs will play at Union Colony Prep (4-9, 0-7 Mile High) on Friday. The Lions will hit the road to take on undefeated Resurrection Christian (15-0, 6-0 Mile High), which is ranked second in the Colorado AP poll, on Tuesday.
Dawson School 51, Lyons 29
At Dawson School
LYONS (4-12, 1-6)
Bridger Kean 0 0-2 0, Owen George 2 4-6 8, Kyle Frohling 1 0-0 2, Mitchell Simms 2 0-0 5, Colton JonJak 1 0-0 2, Lars Basey 4 2-2 10, Max Schneeweiss 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 6-10 29.
DAWSON SCHOOL (8-7, 5-4)
Jordan Grant-Krenz 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Watts 2 0-0 4, Billy Howenstein 0 0-0 0, Tanner Fulkerson 3 2-2 9, Bryce Bickel 2 0-0 5, Chase Fulkerson 0 0-0 0, Timmy Cropanzano 0 0-0 0, Nick Timms 4 0-0 8, Zach Dupont 4 0-0 8, Elijah Bacher 5 4-5 15, Wyeth Thompson 0 2-2 2, Chris Slade 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-9 51.
Score by quarters:Lyons 10 9 2 8 — 29
3-point field goals — Lyons (1): Simms; Dawson (3): T. Fulkerson, Bickel, Bacher. Total fouls — Lyons 11, Dawson 13.