There have been many hard days and sleepless nights at the Costley house since the season began for the Mexico varsity girls basketball team.
Now that Adria Costley is in her senior year and mother Kim Costley is a new assistant coach for father and head coach Ed Costley, the majority of 2017-18 is probably going to be like that. But, the fact that the Lady Bulldogs lost to Boonville in the season opener and then fell to Harrisburg at the Norm Stewart Classic on Sunday morning was a definite concern.
Apparently, since the weekend Mexico evaluated itself and came up lacking, so they did something about it, which was incredibly apparent at home on Tuesday when the team defeated Marshall 66-50 in North Central Missouri Conference competition for its initial win of the year.
"One of the keys was Taylor Crawford averages 18 points a game for Marshall and I thought we did a good job containing her and not giving up good looks," said Ed Costley. "Kassidy Heying still hurt us and we had 18 turnovers, but we also had 17 assists and we've been avergaing less than five a game. We shot well from the three-point line, making 8-of-19. Raigan Playeter had three three-pointers in the first half, Adria Costley hit two three-pointers and Aaryn Sampo had one. There's our lead right there."
From the moment this game started the Lady Bulldogs were hitting on all cylinders on both sides of the ball and that led to first quarter leads of 5-4 at 4:47 and 9-4 at 3:45. Raigan Player and Adria Costley then hit three-pointers for Mexico followed by a field goal to go up 17-6. For the game Playter scored 20 on four three-pointers and Adria Costley gave a 16-point performance.
"I thought, once we had a lead, as young as we are, we've really got to understand how to win a ball game," said Ed Costley. "Just because we had a 21-point lead, what are you going to do with it? We came out strong and then we got a little lacksadasical. We finally came back at the end of the fourth and fought through some things."
Using the momentum it gained from stretching that advantage to 33-19 in the second, the Lady Bulldogs went on an 11-2 run to start the third that began with a three-point play by Logan Blevins and ended with triples by Reghan Smith and Playter to widen the gap to 44-21 at 4:36. For Marshall, that's what made the baskets that followed by Kassidy Heying so valuable, but since Mexico countered with field goals by Adria Costley and Shelbi Shaw, it was ahead 48-29 heading into the fourth.
"It's amazing whern shots go in, how easy defense looks and how much morre you want to play defense. When you're making your shots, everything looks good," Ed Costley said. "Your mistakes aren't multiplied. When you're missing a lot of shots, turnovers and mistakes look worse than they really are. In practice we worked on defense, but we really didn't get too involved. We prepeared for Marshall's trap, which they never did come out with. That surprised me, but we figured it out."
The Lady Owls finally began a serious comeback attempt in the final quarter by scoring 10 of the first 12 points to pull within 50-39 at 6:24. Shortly there after Allie Schlueter made a three-point play and then hit four straight free throws that were sandwiched around a score by Adria Costley to make it a 59-46 game at 3:44. It was the final three minutes of this contest that the Lady Bulldogs truly shined, though, going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. This included Blevins and Smith with two each.
"When we put our offense and defense together, we can get a stop and then get a score, and I felt like we got several of those," said ed Costley. "That not only gave us the lead, but at the end it helped put us over the top. We also got good ball movement and we didn't settle for the first shot."
For the contest Blevins also had 12 points, Shaw scored six and Sampo added four points.
Mexico, 1-2 overall, 1-1 NCMC, hosts Bowling Green on Saturday at 3 p.m.