NIXA – It would be easy to take a 31-point win over a senior-less, non-conference foe for granted, but not after the week the Nixa High School girls basketball team had.
Nixa defeated Glendale 61-30 at home Monday night behind 16 points from senior guard Toshua Leavitt, on a night the team celebrated its first home game since Leavitt scored the 1,000th point of her career.
Leavitt took a moment to receive a plaque from coach Jennifer Perryman to commemorate the milestone before the game, but then it was on to business.
“We don’t recognize a lot of individual stats, but we recognize milestones, and 1,000 points is a big thing and (Leavitt) deserves a little bit of recognition,” Perryman said.
“When I was a freshman I set all these goals I wanted to accomplish during high school and that was one of them, and I was really glad I got to accomplish it especially with half my senior year still left,” Leavitt said.
Senior Carley Allen scored 12 points for Nixa.
Nixa suffered its first loss of the season Friday night at the hands of Class 2 powerhouse Crane in the semifinals of the Stephanie Phillips Classic at Kickapoo.
The Lady Eagles defeated Olathe (Kansas) East Saturday for third place in the tournament, then hosted Glendale Monday for the team’s fourth game in five days.
The 73-50 loss to Crane was full of hard lessons.
“We got down on each other a lot, and we learned in practice this week and tonight that we have to play as a team,” Leavitt said. “If we play as a team we are a lot better than we are just yelling at each other and playing on our own.”
It’s been a season full of lessons for Glendale thus far. The Lady Falcons are winless and have no seniors on the roster. Freshman Anna Fredrick led the team’s scoring at Nixa with 10 points.
“Something we talk about a lot is continuing to fight and continuing to understand that the best is yet to come,” Glendale coach Renee Temple said. “They’re getting thrown into the fire, so to speak, even though that’s going to make them better in the long run.”
Glendale combined for 11-for-13 shooting from the free throw line, but managed just 19 points from the field.
“We were getting a lot of the shots we wanted, I just didn’t feel like they were falling,” Temple said. “(Nixa) just continued to hit big shots and kind of pulled away there, and so it was hard for us to stay in the game because we were having trouble scoring.”
Two of the big shots came from Leavitt, who drove coast-to-coast with a crossover and a dribble behind her back to score a layup with two seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Leavitt followed the act at the end of the second quarter, when she drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The senior captain credits her teammates for the trey.
“They always set really good screens, I’m always wide open on every shot I take at the last second, so that’s my teammates and coaches’ doing,” Leavitt said.