LAFAYETTE — The early season in 2017 is mirroring that of 2016 for the Dawson School boys basketball team.
The Mustangs are just hoping for a little bit of a different result when all things are said and done.
Having missed out on the Class 2A state tournament by just a single game thanks to what only could be considered an upset loss at the hands of Fowler in a regional championship last year, the senior-heavy Mustangs are champing at the bit to get back in that position and be one game better — at the very least.
They don't have the overall size of a year ago, but they showed on Monday night they have the shooting to do it. In a 58-45 win against Rocky Mountain Lutheran at the Dawson gym, the Mustangs sunk 11 3-pointers by five different players to pull out the decisive victory.
"That's the ultimate goal is to get to state, and we have a good class of guys who were freshmen last year that are now sophomores who also want that," said senior Chase Fulkerson, who led the team with four of those treys on his way to 14 points. "I think we're a program on the (upswing)."
The Mustangs have played the exact three teams they started with last season, losing to Yuma in both season openers before beating both Pawnee and the Eagles (2-1). Fulkerson is definitely hoping it's a trend because the team went on to win 16 of 17 games.
He admitted, though, taller teams like the Indians might give them some fits and the Mustangs are going to have to be better at boxing out and positioning themselves for second chances on offense.
Against the Eagles, however, Dawson was dealing with a team that was more into trying to out-pace them. Rocky Mountain Lutheran got out to a great start in that regard, but Dawson took the lead for good in the first quarter at 12-11 and created separation with its hot perimeter shooting.
Fulkerson hit three of his 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Jordy Grant-Krenz and Riley Burridge made it five total in the frame as Dawson gained a 55-39 lead.
"We're definitely relying on our 3-point shooting a little more this year, but everyone is really working hard and we're playing more as a team this year," Fulkerson said. "We looked for that extra pass to get that open shot, and when it's looking good and the defense spreads out, we'll drop it in low and take advantage of that."
Gavyn Pure led Dawson with 20 points, and it was his ability to create his own shot that led to 13 of those points in the second quarter. Defensively as a team, the Mustangs have held their past two opponents to less than 50 points after Yuma posted 87 on them in the opener.
Dawson won't take the court again until December 13 at Lyons.
Dawson School 58, Rocky Mountain Lutheran 45
At Dawson School
ROCKY MOUNTAIN LUTHERAN (2-1)
Walters 0 0-2 0, Hahm 5 2-5 12, Schlittenhart 1 3-4 5, Zemlicka 6 2-2 16, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Bachicha 3 4-7 10. Totals 16 11-20 45.
DAWSON SCHOOL (2-1)
Shams 1 0-0 3, C. Grant-Krenz 1 0-0 2, J. Grant-Krenz 3 0-0 9, Burridge 2 1-1 6, Fulkerson 5 0-0 14, Day 1 0-1 2, Pure 8 2-2 20, Breese 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 3-4 58.
Score by quarters:Rocky Mountain Lutheran1310166—45
3-point field goals — Rocky Mountain Lutheran (2): Hahm 2; Dawson School (11): Fulkerson 4, J. Grant-Krenz 3, Pure 2, Burridge, Shams.