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Madison Maxwell attempts a driving shot in Friday's loss to Choctaw. Maxwell finished with six points and eight rebounds. (Photo by: Shelly Holinsworth)

By Trey Hunter
Mustang Times
Staff Writer

The Mustang girls basketball team fell to the No. 5-ranked Choctaw Yellow Jackets, 64-51 at home on Friday.

The Lady Broncos lost to Choctaw, 62-41 in the season-opener, however, head coach Kevin Korstjens explains that his team has come a long way since Dec. 3.

“I think we’re a lot more confident,” Korstjens said. “That first game, we had a lot of upperclassmen that didn’t have much experience and obviously the underclassmen didn’t have a lot of experience.”

“That first game we didn’t give ourselves a chance. This time we gave ourselves that chance.”

Defensive rebounds plagued the Lady Broncos early in the game as they allowed 10 offensive rebounds in the first 16 minutes. However, Mustang fought through its early rebounding troubles and climbed within eight points of the Yellow Jackets before halftime.

“Defensive rebounding hurt us,” Korstjens said after the game. “Especially in the first half. But I thought our kids battled hard. They got it up to a 13-point lead and we came back to cut it to single-digits and gave ourselves a chance in the second half.”

Mustang adjusted defensively in the second half, allowing just 27 points over the final 16 minutes. And as the Lady Broncos battled on the defensive end, Brooke Irwin continued to dominate offensively.

Irwin poured in nine of her team-high 17 points in the final two quarters. Mustang’s guards continued to feed her the ball in the post even as Choctaw extended their lead.

“The biggest thing is she (Irwin) is continuing to move her feet without the ball,” Korstjens said. “So all she has to do is catch and shoot. Sometimes she has two defenders and sometimes she has three in the area. Our girls are doing a better job of recognizing that and getting it to her in good spots.”

Although the Lady Broncos offense showed signs of encouragement down the stretch, it wasn’t enough to overcome the 37 points they gave up in the first half.

“I told the girls putting up 51 points is good,” Korstjens said. “We just need to do better on the other end. We can’t give up 64. We need to do a better job as players and coaches of not allowing that.”

“We’re doing alright and we’re gaining confidence game-by-game. That’s kind of what you want right now. Brackets come out next week, so we’ll see where we are. If we can just keep gaining confidence, we may have a shot to make a little noise.”

Irwin added 13 rebounds to her 17 points to finish with a double-double in the loss. Tori Shockley finished with nine points, including three triples. Madison Maxwell finished with six points and eight boards while Addyson Lawson and Laci Joyner finished with four points apiece to round out the starting unit.

Brandi Russell and Rebecca Hicks combined for nine points to lead Mustang’s bench.

The Lady Broncos fell to 5-12 with the loss and will look to rebound at Edmond North on Feb. 4 at 6:00 p.m.

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