Nixa finally had a stress-free postseason game.
Jumping out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, the Lady Eagles advanced to the Class 5 state quarterfinals with a 53-34 win over Parkview on Wednesday at Southwest Baptist University.
Nixa will take on defending state champion Columbia Rock Bridge in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The game is set for a 7:45 p.m. tip at Drury University.
Rock Bridge beat Nixa 60-38 on Jan. 12 in Columbia.
“The last time we played them, in the locker room after the game, we saw some things we liked,” Nixa junior Angie Allen said. “I really believe we have a shot against them.”
Nixa coach Jim Middleton said that game was a turning point in Nixa’s season, and a confidence-builder coming into a postseason in which the Lady Eagles staged a miracle comeback and an incredible shooting performance to reach the sectional round.
“I thought our team started turning things around after that game,” Middleton said. “We started seeing some things that were pretty good, and some things we could take confidence in.”
The Lady Eagles (24-5) were confident from the start Wednesday, rolling off six straight points after Parkview took an early 2-0 lead.
The advantage grew to 13-4 six minutes into the game and was 17 by halftime.
Allen led the way, scoring nine first-quarter points on her way to a game-high 19. She added five rebounds.
“She’s been doing that the last few games,” Middleton said. “It’s almost like she’s saying ‘it’s my turn to step up and do it.’ And she has. She’s doing it consistently for four quarters rather than just in spurts.”
Allen was the only Lady Eagle in double figures, but Nixa got plenty of balance. Toshua Leavitt and Jeana Raper each scored nine points.
After Nixa opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to go up 42-17, the Lady Eagles were able to enjoy the final two quarters.
“It’s nice to sit back and relax a little bit,” Middleton said. “But we’ll take them as long as we get the same result. I don’t care how stressful they are as long as we keep winning.”
Parkview (18-10), which had lost to Nixa by seven and 12 points in the teams’ previous two meetings this season, never got untracked.
The Lady Vikings made just one field goal over the second and third quarters, finishing 1-for-19 from the field in that 16-minute stretch.
Parkview got within 14 midway through the fourth quarter, but never was able to mount a serious challenge.
“I just thought we were stagnant on offense,” Parkview coach Keri Nichols said. “We didn’t attack the basket. But we also talked at halftime about continuing to battle, and I thought we did that.
“Nixa is a prime example that you can never count anybody out. I thought our girls stayed with it until the end.”
Aubrey Buckley finished with 17 of Parkview’s 34 points and added 10 rebounds.