Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Mustangs lose close one to Shelby


January 22, 2020

Pierre Bibbs

The team welcomed back Tanner Smith last week. Smith had ten in Malta's loss to Shelby.

The Malta Mustangs Basketball team stopped their three-game losing streak with a win over Glasgow last Thursday in Glasgow.

In addition to their win over Glasgow, Malta competed well with the Shelby Coyotes, who defeated the Mustangs 60-50 in Malta on Saturday night.

"I thought there were a lot of positives out there," Malta Head Coach David Costin said of his team's effort against Shelby.

He had also noticed that there were times that his team needed to be more aggressive on the floor, specifically in the paint. Something that the team did not do initially.

"You gotta go at the big guys," Coach Costin said. You can't back away because then you will have a lot of blocked shots."

Malta overcame a six-point deficit in the first quarter thanks to treys from Kooper Oxarart, Rex Williamson and Ben Costin. Malta's largest lead of the game was 19-14 in the first quarter.

Malta was led by Oxarart, a junior who scored 14 points. Oxarart had a game-high four treys. Williamson had 12 points. Tanner Smith had 10 points, and B. Costin had eight.

After Malta's run in the first, Shelby answered with an 11-2 run to start the second period. Shelby only committed one foul in the first half, while Malta was called for ten. The halftime score was 37-31 at halftime. Shelby would outscore Malta 23-19 in the second half, despite Malta's success of drawing fouls in the second half. Shelby racked up nine fouls, while Malta only committed two.

"They were just a little more aggressive than we were going for loose balls and rebounds, but we shot the ball well and executed well offensively at times," Coach Costin said.

He went on to say that many of the Mustangs' turnovers were self-inflicted rather than forced turnovers by Shelby and that if the team were to be more aggressive the game could have been won.

"We are right there," Coach Costin said.

In Malta's 54-41 win over Glasgow, the team was led by Oxarart who had 15 points off of five treys. Connor Tuss had 13 points, Tanner Smith had 11 points.

"I am pretty happy with our guys and their effort was good," Coach Costin said. "The execution of our offense was good."

The Mustangs outscored Glasgow 11-8 in the first, and 16-10 in the second quarter. Keigan Skolrud had all of Glasgow's eight points in the first quarter and had the highest point total among all scorers with 18. Skolrud had seven of Glasgow's 12 points in the third period and came within two points from tying the game. Coach Costin called a timeout.

"Heads were starting to go down a little bit and I said, 'hey, they made their run and lets put a stop to it, get a basket or two here,' and we went on our own run."

Coach Costin praised the Mustangs' defensive effort and their ability to control the boards. Malta had a total of 11 points in the third, but the team bounced back in the fourth period outscoring Glasgow 16-11.

According to Coach Costin, the crowd was large and loud at the Glasgow High School Gymnasium.

"It was a very intense and loud game and it was fun to be a part of," Coach Costin said.

The Mustangs are set to face the Harlem Wildcats, who defeated Malta 69-59 in Harlem on Friday, December 20, last year. The teams are scheduled to face each other on Friday, January 24, in Malta.

They will then face Poplar, who Malta defeated 60-31 when the teams last met in Malta on Saturday, December 21. The game is scheduled for Saturday, January 25, in Poplar.


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