Nixa soars after sluggish start

Nixa soars after sluggish start

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Nixa soars after sluggish start

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Whatever rust the Nixa boys basketball team had from not playing for 10 days only needed about nine minutes to get knocked off Tuesday night.

The Eagles overcame a slow start to outscore Glendale 55-27 in the second and third quarters and roll to a 77-47 win Tuesday at Glendale High School.

The victory likely clinched Nixa (3-0) a No. 1 seed in the Greenwood Blue & Gold Tournament, which will have its brackets announced later today.

Playing for the first time since Dec. 1, Nixa fell behind 6-2 to start the game and didn’t take its first lead until a minute into the second quarter while trying to feel out Glendale’s 2-3 zone defense.

But after that, it was off to the races.

“We weren’t hitting some shots and we had a few turnovers,” said junior Bryce Dulin. “But (Austin) Ruder hit some shots and got us going, and we followed his lead.”

Ruder scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the second quarter as Nixa blitzed the Falcons 30-11. Ruder finished 9 of 15 from the floor, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range.

The Eagles went 11 of 14 from the field in the second periond and 10 of 15 from the floor in the third to put the game away, hitting eight of their 12 3-pointers in the middle two periods. Glendale’s only field goal over the last five minutes of the first half was a banked-in half court shot to beat the halftime buzzer.

It was another balanced performance from a team still playing without senior standout Jalen Norman. The Division I talent sat out his third game for disciplinary reasons, but is expected to be in uniform Friday for the Eagles’ contest against Little Rock McClellan at the Ozark Mountain Shootout in Branson.

“I really liked our second quarter. We were pretty efficient offensively,” Nixa coach Jay Osborne said.

“We were very unselfish. When we made our run, we did a nice job of making the extra pass or two.”

Chan Hocklander had 12 points for Nixa (3-0) while Athan Lummis came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers on his way to 11 points as seven Eagles scored at least six points.

Dulin had nine points and four rebounds, and keyed Nixa’s defense with five steals. The Eagles forced Glendale into 20 turnovers.

“They’re a good team, but their ball handling’s not as great,” Dulin said. “We were able to put some pressure on them and get some steals, and that led to layups.”

Glendale got 14 points, three rebounds and three steals from Garrett Skipworth, who also knocked down the half court shot.

Cameron Maes added 10 points and seven rebounds and Scott Harned finished with nine points.

But, the Falcons dropped to 2-5 while still searching for an identity after losing nearly all the firepower from last year’s district final team.

“When you play at this level against the teams we play against, you have to be A) really talented, or B) fundamentally strong and together,” Glendale coach Sean Williamson said. “We need to be B, and we’re working on that.”

Williamson said the Falcons have started their four seniors — Jared Hood, Hassan Khan, Brad Dishman and Maes — in an effort to put the team’s best leaders on the floor.

“I’m really happy with our younger players and their effort,” Williamson said. “They’re just not there yet. But we’ll keep giving guys opportunities and we’ll keep working at it.”

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