Posted: Thursday, 15 November 2012 5:08PM

Longtime assistant takes over West Plains boys

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Longtime assistant coach Kevin Smith takes the reigns of the West Plains boys’ basketball team this season as the Zizzers try to ascend in the rugged Ozark Conference.

Smith, who has been an off and on assistant coach for nine years at West Plains, enters the picture a season after the Zizzers finished with a rare winning record (16-12).

Since joining the Ozark Conference a decade ago, the Zizzers have mostly finished near the bottom of the league standings.

“We expect to be competitive in every game,” said Smith, who also has seven years of head coaching experience with a 55-52 overall record. “We hope to do well in conference play and then make a strong push in districts.”

One initial challenge for West Plains will be replacing honorable mention all-conference guard Braxton Williams, who averaged over 16 points per game and is now playing at North Iowa Area Community College.

Back for the Zizzers are second team all-district forward Cole Butler (10.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and senior guard Logan Miller (9.5 ppg, 74.1 FT%). Taylor Gill, a 6-foot-4 senior forward who averaged 6.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg last season, will be counted upon to help the undersized Zizzers with rebounding.

“The first key in our success will be rebounding because of our size,” Smith said. “Hopefully we will be a good rebounding team. Second key is for us to stay away from injuries as much as possible.”

Other returning players for West Plains include: sophomore guard Zach Flippin, senior forward Dalton Freshour and sophomore forward Justin Davis. Among the newcomers are 6-foot-4 forward Seth Pingleton and guards Dusty Harrill and Josh Jones.

Smith said he plans to play 8-9 players “that can do several things.”

The Zizzers open the season against Tulsa Central, then head to the Parkview Tournament on Nov. 29. They also have non-conference games against Rogersville and Ozark.

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Mizzou 38, South Dakota State 18

The Tigers won their opening game of the season in front of 60,000 people.

Pictures: Strafford XC Meet

Springfield Catholic swept the team titles while Tabitha Weber and Daylan Quinn clenched individual gold medals.

Pictures: Top 100 Photos of Week 2 Football

Catch the 100 best photos from the second week of the football season.
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Week 2 Football Recap
Who were the big players from Week 2 football? What do you have to look forward to in Week 3. I cover it all here. See all of Week Two's top plays in the video above. Big Man on Campus Johnny Healy, Mountain Grove – Often...
Read More
5 Takeaways from Mizzou's win over SDSU
Mizzou opened its football season with a 38-18 win over FCS opponent South Dakota State on Saturday. Here are five things I am taking away from the first game of the season. PICTURES: MIZZOU VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - CLICK HERE 1. It is a good thing...
Read More
Win or lose, 2014's the turning point for Bears' program
 The freshness of a new season offers a chance for a fresh start, hope and the promise of a better future.   And if you’ve been a Missouri State football fan or follower for any part of the past two and a half decades, you know no team...
Read More
Most Viewed