By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

McMinnville boys basketball stifles Mustangs' last gasp

With six minutes remaining in Tuesday night's boys basketball game and Class 6A McMinnville trailing Class 5A Milwaukee, 42-40, Isaiah Coste found an open lane.

The Grizzlies' junior point guard drove left of the basket, only to be fouled by a Mustangs player. Coste, the ball in the control of his right hand, scooped it up for a left-side layup. The ball kissed the backboard and dropped through the net, to the delight of the crowd in The Furnace.

Coste missed his foul shot, but Wyatt Smith collected the rebound and scored, putting McMinnville up 44-42 in a back-and-forth affair.

"There's zero quit in that guy," Grizzlies head coach Willie Graham said of Coste, who had a team-high 14 points. "He keeps getting a little better, a little better, a little better."

Coste and Jacob Powell each hit free throws in the game's final minute, and a three-point attempt as time expired went wide for Milwaukie, giving the Grizzlies a 59-56 victory to move them to 4-5 overall (1-1 Class 6A Greater Valley Conference).

Smith finished with 11 points against the Mustangs (4-4), and sophomore forward Aaron Baune had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Powell had eight points and seven rebounds in a reserve role, as Graham tinkered with his starting lineup.

Senior Kade Mechals, in his first start of the season, made two three-pointers in the first quarter to help McMinnville to a 17-15 lead. Junior Cedric Agcaoili-Ostrom also started his first game of the season, and he used it defending Milwaukie's quick, skilled guards.

"It goes back to the Newberg game (on Dec. 21) -- it's the same thing," Graham said. "You look at different guys in different times at different spots.

"I thought Kade did a great job. Cedric does a great job in there hustling."

The Grizzlies led by six points at halftime but gave it all back a third quarter that saw the Mustangs knock down outside shots and take advantage of trips to the free throw line.

"We could not block out on free throws," Graham said. "They must have got six, seven points (off putbacks)."

McMinnville concludes its nonleague slate Saturday at 7:15 p.m., when the Grizzlies host Centennial.