NIXA – If Friday night’s second quarter is any indication, then the Nixa Eagles are ready for the postseason to start right now.
Using its height and length inside, along with red-hot shooting and unselfish play outside, Nixa’s rode a huge second quarter to its 20th consecutive win, 62-41 over Republic in Central Ozark Conference play.
“A lot of good things happened tonight,” Nixa coach Jay Osborne said.
“I’m really happy with our effort, we distributed the ball extremely well and I’m really happy with our defense.
“Our team chemistry is outstanding right now. We’re playing unselfish and we’re playing for each other. We’re healthy and we’re starting to jell.
“It’s a good time to be a basketball coach at Nixa.”
Nixa’s big second-quarter run started with back-to-back buckets inside from junior Chase Allen.
Allen’s conventional 3-point play from the post, followed by a rebound and putback in transition, kick-started a 20-2 run for the No. 3-ranked team in Class 5.
“We were able to get the ball inside, and when that happens, they’ll double down and we’ll get the kickout,” Allen said.
“So our whole offense was working just like we wanted it to in the second quarter.”
Nixa senior Dawson Mills got into the act two minutes later, draining back-to-back 3s from virtually the same spot on the left wing, for a 27-10 lead with 2:35 left before halftime.
“We got the ball down low in the second quarter, which helps everything for us offensively,” Mills said.
“That opened it up for me to hit a few 3s.”
The Eagles (21-1, 4-1) made 10 of 13 shots from the field in the decisive second quarter, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.
“In the second quarter, we had some turnovers and quick shots that allowed them to get some transition buckets, and anytime you play a team that talented, your margin of error is zero,” Republic coach Trevyor Fisher said.
“We gave them points without them having to work, they gained confidence and it kind of snowballed on us.”
Republic (11-11, 3-1) trailed 58-29 midway through the fourth quarter, but used a 12-4 run to narrow the margin late.
“You never want to let up,” Mills said.
“They have good shooters and even up 20 points, you don’t want to leave them open, because they could get back in it real quick.”
Allen led all scores with 17 points and had six rebounds, senior Jacob Ruder added 14 points and five rebounds and junior Garrett Bacon added eight points and a game-high eight boards.
“I think for any team that plays Nixa, height is their concern, not only height but their length,” Fisher said.
“They are able to bother shots defensively, they rebound well, and you can’t pack it inside against them because they have such good shooters around them on the outside.”
Senior Brock Yocum led Republic with 10 points, senior Brady McGill had nine points and sophomore Ty Stevens added eight points in the loss.