Though “The Pit” was rocking the entire game, it didn’t discourage the Tigers. In fact, Central head coach Armando Johnson thinks it might have had a negative effect on the home team.
“I’m at the point where I don’t want to play anymore home games,” said Johnson. “Because the team seems to play looser on the road. We game planned for them all week. I don’t think we defended well tonight and I think playing here might have had them a little anxious.”
Ozark head coach Mark Schweitzer said the energy brought out the best in his squad.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Schweitzer. “We love it. We thrive on it. Like I’ve said our kids they really want to prove something that they belong in that upper echelon. They want to put Ozark back up there where it was in the early to mid 2000’s. That’s how good they think they are.”
The Tigers were good enough to jump out to a 11-2 lead early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs would make up some ground and ended the quarter trailing just 23-18.
Ozark never gave up the early lead. The offensive onslaught was centered around junior Chandler Lyon who dropped 13 points in the half and led the Tigers with 16 total points.
Schweitzer said Lyon’s success was expected, and he’ll only get better with experience.
“He’s going to have some games where he’s going to go off and he’s going to have some games where he struggles,” said Schweitzer. “The reason is lack of experience. There will be a few bumps in the road but by the end of the year he’s going to be a load for anybody. He is a load right now.”
Senior Korbin Evans, who is still not playing at full force because of a knee injury, was second among Tiger scorers with 14 total points.
“I though he made a few strides in the right direction tonight,” said Schweitzer. “This was his best game of the year so far by far. With his knee injury he’s coming back from he’s still not 100 percent and the person who doesn’t know that is Korbin.”
The Tigers would coast in the second half, leading by as much as 20 points.
The Bulldog’s problem wasn’t offense, at least not in the first half as the team scored 42 points through two quarters.
But the baskets disappeared in the second half for Central, scoring just 19 points while Ozark kept pouring it on.
One bright spot for the Bulldogs was Tre Robinson who led all scorers with 17 points.
Schweitzer said that his team took their preparation for Central to a new level after dropping a game to Hillcrest earlier this season. Not wanting a repeat of the loss, Schweitzer spent extra time watching video and game planning for the Bulldogs, but that can only go so far.
“It had nothing to do with me,” said Schweitzer. “They came out ready to play tonight and they took care of business.”
Ozark 23 26 20 16
Central 18 24 10 9
Ozark – Lyon 16, Evans 14, T. Nelson 13, N. Nelson 13, Cookinham 11, Carmichael 6, Sutherland 6, Bottoms 4, Ramsdell 2
Central – Robinson 17, Hardin 14, Heard 11, Bedell 8, Jones 7, Hodges 2, Holyfield 2
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