After a week of Winter Warming competitions between classes and a day before the associated school dance, the Mexico varsity girls basketball team lost at home on Friday to Marshall 52-44.
"Part of our game plan was to play better defense, limit their three-point looks and limit Kassidy Heying from getting good shots, but we broke down defensively," said coach Ed Costley. "We put some pressure on them and we had some opportunities to score, but we never did convert on those. Then Marshall came down and we didn't have our defensive assignments right, so we gave them to many open looks coming out of the press."
With the announcement that Brit Wilson was named Mr. Bulldog awaiting at the end of the night, the Lady Bulldogs didn't get off to a great start. This allowed the Lady Owls to take an 11-3 lead at 5:08 of the first quarter despite a three-pointer by Raigan Playter. After Playter hit two more triples for Mexico, Morgan Bledsoe knocked down two field goals and Aaryn Sampo scored.
During that same time, Keyanna Terrill, Heying and Lexie Blumhorst combined for seven points. hich gave Marshall a 22-15 advantage heading into the second.
"At halftime we kept it simple. We just needed to step up and play defense," Ed Costley said. "We've just got to take some pride in our defense and let the offense come together. I thought we played some nice zone offense and I liked our movement around the perimeter. I thought we did a better job there and even found some passes by the free throw line that in the past we really wouldn't look for. Sometimes defensively we just need to have another level where we're going after it."
Now trailing 38-22 to start the third, the Lady Bulldogs got a basket from Shelbi Shaw and a field goal and two free throws from Adria Costley. Adria Costley then scored once more to cut Marshall's lead to 40-30 at 3:36, but a hoop by Mexico's Payton Bledsoe and a three-pointer from Heying made it a 43-32 game at the end of the session.
"When we're behind, we've got to sell out and go after it and forget about everything else," said Ed Costely. "When it comes to ball skills, Adria is good. She does a good job of getting the ball to the right spot, but we need her to be more aggressive at the beginning of ball games, be a leader on offense and help get people in the right positions. She came through later in the game and put some things together. It's her ball handling and vision that puts her above a lot of other players on the floor."
Things really began to slip away from the Lady Bulldogs in the fourth as they found themselves down 45-35 at 6:25 and 49-37 at 4:36. Even though Adria Costley scored eight for the quarter and Blevins and Wortmann added two points each for Mexico, it was still trailing 52-39 at 2:28 before sending Marshall's Taylor Crawford to the free throw line with :55.9 remaining in the contest.
Headlining this effort for the Lady Bulldogs was Adria Costley with 14 points, Playter hit three three-pointers in the first quarter to score nine and Sampo and Morgan Bledsoe added five and four points, respectively. Kayle Scobee also had three points, chipping in with to points each were Wortmann, Payton Bledsoe and Shelbi Shaw and connecting on one free throw was Logan Blevins.
Mexico, 7-11 overall, 3-6 North Central Missouri Conference, welcomes Kirksville on Feb. 9.