Nixa will attempt to strike Gold and set records in the 71st edition of the Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.
The No. 1-seeded Eagles will need four wins in four days of high school boys basketball to help coach Jay Osborne become the all-time winningest coach in the history of the traditional holiday tournament. Nixa’s coach holds 62 Blue and Gold Tournament victories, which puts him two wins behind all-time leader Steve Hunter’s 64 wins.
Additionally, should Osborne coach the Eagles to a championship, he would tie Russ Kaminsky’s all-time mark of eight Blue and Gold championships.
Osborne knows it won’t be easy for Nixa to win four games in four consecutive days in the Gold Division.
“I think the tournament this year is really good. There’s eight to 10 to 12 teams that could possibly win the tournament,” Osborne said. “Being a No. 1 seed is always a special thing. It’s a special tournament and to be a No. 1 seed is a privilege, and our kids won’t take that for granted.”
Bolivar (6-0) won Branson’s Battle at the Border tournament and holds the No. 2 overall seed in the Gold Division. Mountain Grove (5-0) comes off a third-place finish in the 2016 Class 3 playoffs and holds wins over Conway, Springfield Catholic and Mansfield to clinch the No. 3 seed.
The Rogersville Wildcats hold an all-time record of 110-69 in the Greenwood Blue and Gold, which leads the way in all-time games played and wins in the tournament. Rogersville is seeded sixth in the Gold Division under first-year coach Mitch McHenry, a former assistant at Evangel University and Kickapoo High School.
Rogersville (4-5) comes off a 55-36 loss to Hillcrest. McHenry says his team needs to be more assertive on offense.
“When we catch and we’re soft with the basketball and weak with the basketball, the result showed because we threw it all over the gym,” McHenry said. “Offensively we’re not nearly where we need to be. I feel like we’re doing a lot of good things defensively, and that’s the most frustrating thing. I feel like we’re really tough defensively, and then we get the ball in our hands and we get a complete change.”
At the end of the opening round, all winner’s bracket games move to JQH Arena for the remaining three days of tournament play, and consolation games will be held at Hammons Student Center. Passes for all four days of the tournament may be purchased at the JQH Arena box offices. Adult passes are $30 and student passes are $20.
71st annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Basketball Tournament
Opening round games Dec. 26
All games at Hammons Student Center
9:30 a.m. (8)Marshfield vs. Crane
11 a.m. (1)Republic vs. Mt. Vernon
12:30 p.m. (5)Clever vs. Aurora
2 p.m. (4)Parkview vs. Willow Springs
5 p.m. (7)Mansfield vs. Spokane
6:30 p.m. (2)Glendale vs. Branson
8 p.m. (6)Springfield Catholic vs. Skyline
9:30 p.m. (3)Hartville vs. Ava
All games at JQH Arena
9:30 a.m. (8)Reeds Spring vs. Greenwood
11 a.m. (1)Nixa vs. Strafford
12:30 p.m. (5)Fair Grove vs. West Plains
2 p.m. (4)Ozark vs. Buffalo
5 p.m. (7)Lebanon vs. Willard
6:30 p.m. (2)Bolivar vs. Camdenton
8 p.m. (6)Rogersville vs. Stockton
9:30 p.m. (3)Mountain Grove vs. Hollister