After a feel-the-other-team-out type of first quarter, the Nixa High School boys’ basketball team got its offense in gear.
“I guess I’m getting spoiled,” said Nixa coach Jay Osborne. “I thought we were sloppy and didn’t play that well offensively, and we scored 89 points.”
Things quickly turned following a half-court, defensive-based feel in the first eight minutes. A 3-pointer from sophomore forward Jacob Ruder gave Nixa a 25-12 lead and forced the Lions to call a timeout.
McClellan got within 33-23 on Tyrin Hollis’ 3-pointer. But Nixa scored seven of the next nine points, capped with a Jalen Norman block that led to an Austin Ruder trey, to close the half.
The Eagles’ offense got a boost from the first-half play of Jacob Ruder and senior reserve Carney Wilmes.
“I thought we had several kids play real well,” Osborne said. “We made the extra pass. We were probably a little too unselfish at times. But we’re gonna get there. It’s going to take us a little while, but we’re going to get this team to where it needs to go.”
The Lions played a frantic, up-and-down style. But when their shots weren’t falling, Nixa quickly transitioned to the other end for quick and easy offense.
Nixa welcomed the arrival of senior Jalen Norman, who made his season debut after a three-game suspension for disciplinary reasons. Norman finished with 10 points, 10 rebound and five blocks.
“You can practice and practice all you want but until you actually get into a game environment, get a little cottonmouth out of ya, it’s difficult,” Osborne said of Norman. “This was his first game, he did well, he played hard. He made some good things happen.”
Nixa (4-0) travels to Kansas City on Saturday to play Blue Valley Northwest (Kan.) in the HyVee Shootout.
Nixa 89, McClellan 58
Nixa 13 27 26 23 --- 89
McClellan 10 15 22 11 --- 58
McClellan – Derrick Hardy 17, Davion Givens 11, Terrance Jones 10, Akee Johnson 8, Tyrin Hollis 3, Tronsayne Ellis 2, Jason Hendrix 2, Kelechi Kingsley 2, Chris Early 2, Tylon Jackson 1
Nixa – Austin Ruder 25, Carney Wilmes 12, Jacob Ruder 11, Jalen Norman 10, Wes Middleton 10, Bryce Dunlin 9, Chan Hocklander 7, Logan Middleton 2, Chris Bettis 2, Joey Mease 1