“I don’t know what to say, I didn’t expect this kind of game. Their point guard was out and that’s one less person to help bring the ball down," said Nixa Head Coach Jim Middleton. "Our goal was to get up-tempo and press from the get-go and we were hoping to wear them out.”
Nixa would jump out to an early 18-4 lead in the first quarter, but the Lady Mountaineers would respond in the second quarter to make the score 34-18. The Lady Eagles left Mt. Vernon senior guard Audrey LaSalle uncontested and she started to knock down some big shots.
“You let her (LaSalle) get her feet set and it’s going in the hole. Our kids knew better, we just forgot where she was,” said Middleton.
Nixa would respond with its own offensive output, knocking down nine 3's in the first half, an unexpected offensive explosion. Jeana Raper was the games leading scorer with 19 points.
“It was nice knowing that we have outside shooters that can knock down some shots. The other team can’t focus on just one shooter, they have to guard everyone. It’s a huge plus on our end,” said Raper.
The story of the game, however, was Nixa’s stifling defense. Holding Mt. Vernon to just one point in the second half was unexpected by both coaches.
“We were able to run some full court, some three-quarters court and some half court defenses tonight that caused them to turn the ball over. We took some chances and were able to capitalize. We threw some different looks and traps at them tonight and it paid off,” said Middleton.
“Missing Mackenzie made a big difference. Their defense is great. They switched defenses continuously between man and zone," said Mt. Vernon Head Coach Jamie LaSalle. "Their full court pressing and trapping caused us a lot of problems. Obviously, missing our point guard has a great deal to do with some of the difficulties we had, but they’re a very good defensive team. We’ve got to have people step up and tonight that just didn’t happen.”
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