Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Mustangs third in 2B


February 26, 2020

Kooper Oxarart shoots a jump shot in Malta's win over Glasgow last Saturday.

It will be a short trip again for the Malta Mustangs Basketball team as they get set to host the Northern B Divisional as the third seed of the 2B District this weekend.

"We don't always respond well to bus rides and Saturdays that second game in a row, so I think it is huge for us to be here with this team that we have," Malta Head Coach David Costin said. "We will be well rested, in our own beds, with mom's cooking."

With the top three Northern B placers heading to State in Missoula during the first week of March; Malta needs all the help it can get as the top eight teams in the 1B and 2B are set to takeover town.

The Mustangs are scheduled to take on the 1B runner up Shelby Coyotes on Thursday, February 27, at 8 p.m. at the Malta High School Gymnasium.

Head to head, things have not gone well for the Mustangs, who have lost both meetings. The first time the teams met, Shelby defeated Malta 60-50 late January. The Coyotes were led by Rhett Reynolds who scored 19 points. Logan Leck scored 18 and Tanner Parsons had 17.

The second match featured a bigger deficit as the Mustangs struggled to score throughout the game and were defeated 41-25. Leck had 17 points, Reynolds had 12, and Parsons had 10.

"It's going to be a really tough game," Coach Costin said. "Truly, we needed to win that game against Wolf Point, so we could play a three or a fourth seed, but it didn't work out. We need to have a good week and go to battle!"

The Mustangs split games at the 2B Boys District Tournament last week in Malta, falling to the eventual 2B Champion Wolf Point Wolves and then defeating Glasgow in the Consolation Finals.

In Malta's Consolation Finals win over Glasgow, the score was 46-36. The Mustangs were led by Tanner Smith who had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

"If there was a rebound to get, Tanner was going up to get it," Coach Costin said.

Ben Costin had 14 points. Connor Tuss had eight points and nine rebounds.

"I thought that we did a great good defensively, especially in the first half," Coach Costin said. "I don't like when I go into the locker at halftime and really don't have anything to talk about. I think when that happens, you tend to come out and let (your guard) down a little bit."

Malta jumped out to a 15-3 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter, but seemed to struggle scoring in the second and third periods, scoring seven in the second and nine in the third. Glasgow scored seven and 16 points during those same periods. The Mustangs were able to hold on outscoring the Scotties 15-10 in the fourth quarter.

"It happened, Glasgow made a run and got back into the game right away in the third quarter and then we had to battle," Coach Costin said. "We had great contribution from everyone who played off of the bench. It was good to see our other teammates step up and score the ball."

Pierce Mortenson grabs a rebound in the Mustang's win over Glasgow last Saturday.

Malta's longest run was 19-1, a run that started early in the first period after Glasgow scored the opening field goal of the game and ended early in the second quarter.

In Malta's 43-35 loss to Wolf Point on Friday, Malta was leading 21-16 heading into halftime, but were held to 14 points in the second half, while the Wolves poured on 27.

"We really played well defensively, we just turned the ball over," Coach Costin said. "It wasn't against pressure defense, many of those were unforced. We had a couple of guys that started shooting the ball too quick in the second half. We didn't hit those shots. We needed to be more patient. That was probably our biggest downfall that half."

Malta was led by Kooper Oxarart who had 13 points and six rebounds. Smith had eight points and 11 rebounds. Costin had six points. Tuss had four points and 11 rebounds.


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