While every team claims to be working hard during this current offseason, few have been as active as the Mexico high school basketball program.
On Monday and Tuesday the squad kept up their aggressive pace by attending Licking Camps hosted by the Lake Ozarks Area School System at Eldon Community Schools.
"Raigan Playter was selected to All-Camp Team. The girls have been putting in time in the gym this summer during our individual workouts and you can see the growth in our girls in confidence and offensive moves and using those in game situation," said coach Ed Costley. "This was a good team bonding opportunity to play ball, stay the night and do some activities together off the court."
The first day began for the Lady Bulldogs with wins against Linn and Glasgow followed by a loss to Fatima and a victory over Tipton. The second day, which took place at Eugene middle school and high school, was even more contentious and started with contests against Liberty (Il.) and Central-Southeastern Illinois, the latter of which took place in bracket play and found Mexico winning by two with less than a minute to play before making two steals to lock down the decision.
"It was exciting to see our girls go out and compete. We had some time/score situations that we had to work on in several games on Tuesday," Costley said. "On the second day of a camp like this where you play eight games in two days you find out about the character of your team and see that mental toughness when your tired, but you find one more defensive stop or one more rebound to put you over the top. I can really see this group understanding how to help make each better."
That led to a semifinals matchup that featured Mexico going up by three against Plato with 20 seconds to play prior to making the defensive stop to claim the win. All that left for the Lady Bulldogs was the divisional bracket title game against Triad (Il.) that it got edged out of by three points in sudden-death overtime.
"We lost a tough one in our final game. We were on game three of the tourney and Triad had only played one game (2 hours off) so we were in a back to back when we faced them," said coach Ed Costley. "Fatigue showed early. We were down most of the game by six to eight points and finally took the lead at 21-20. When we went to overtime we were simply out of gas."
Next up for this squad was its final summer league game at Hallsville on Wednesday against Prairie Hill followed by a JV contest later that evening against Hallsville.
The junior high girls basketball team also competed at this event and defeated Osage, Southern Boone and Vienna on the first day and Osage on day two. Mexico also lost to Richland on the second day in a 15-minute matchup, beat Lathrop and split two contests against Southern Boone.
"It was hard to get together enough girls to have a full seventh and eighth grade teams, so we ended up taking three eighth graders, one seventh grader and two sixth graders," said coach Mackenzie Mudd. "These six haven't played together a lot but had great chemistry on the floor. I saw a lot of strong defense and ball movement on offense as well as good communication on the court. Only having one sub meant that they spent a lot of time playing and not much resting, but they kept the intensity high."