Having already been postponed once because of driving conditions, the Mexico varsity girls North Central Missouri Conference basketball game at Kirksville last Thursday needed to take place if either team was going to have enough time to prepare for the start of districts at the beginning of next week.
Considering some of this squads other recent non-league contests, including Feb. 8 at home against Highland and Feb. 7 at Bowling Green, were cancelled and not rescheduled because of weather, coach Ed Costley knew he had some Lady Bulldogs that were done sitting and ready to compete. It was evident as soon as she hit the floor one of those athletes who was through waiting and looking to get out and run was Raigan Playter and all the proof anyone needed was her 23 points and four rebounds.
While that's all well and good, it's just the work of one person during a five-person game, and it certainly wasn't enough to keep Mexico from ending the first down 12-6. Nor was it enough from keeping the Lady Bulldogs from going into halftime down 24-18. But, thanks, in part, to Shelbi Shaw and Reghan Smith scoring nine each with a combined eight rebounds, eight steals and five assists for the game, the Lady Tigers got upended in the second half to wind up losing to Mexico, 54-44.
"It has been over 12 days since we got on the floor in head to head competition. In the first quarter we looked a little slow and rusty," Costley said. "We were able to get some offense going in the second as we looked to force the tempo. Our bench was key in the factor, especially Abbie Oetting and Catie Bledsoe's energy in third. Abbie led us in rebounds with seven."
Playter's performance was actually a bit streaky and featured a 6-for-18 shooting performance. This including going 3-for-12 from three point territory, which she made up for by hitting all eight of her free throws. Playter had one steal, as well.
"Once the girls got going they became the aggressor and fed off the energy of each other. We started the third quarter on a 15-2 run," said Costley. "Our 3/4 court pressure led to some transition baskets, which was a goal for us tonight. Raigan Playter struggled shooting in first half but caught fire, scoring 10 of her 23 in third quarter."
One performance that went somewhat under the radar, but meant a lot to the bottom line, was the one turned in by Logan Blevins. This included eight points on 4-for-4 free throw shooting with two boards and a block.
"Blevins and Shaw played solid in first half, really taking control of boards and paint," Costley said. "We finished the game in the fourth going 10-for-10 from the line."
Mexico, 8-12 overall, 4-3 NCMC, was at Moberly on Friday and hosts Hannibal on Tuesday, both of which are league games.