Posted: Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:36AM

Strong second half propels Tigers over Chiefs



Ozark, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- The Ozark Tigers used a 21-9 run in the third quarter to rally past the Kickapoo Chiefs Friday night, winning 71-64.

PHOTOS

Even with Kickapoo sharpshooter Tyler Bussell hitting eight 3-pointers in the game, the Tigers used a balanced offense to claw their way back for their fourth win.

“We needed a confidence boost,” said Ozark coach Steve Hunter. “We’ve struggled getting in the frame of mind. … We’re feeling pretty good about the game itself. We just need to get better. This was a big boost for our confidence.”

Ozark looked in trouble to start the game, as the Chiefs’ Bussell couldn’t be stopped from the outside while the Tigers struggled to keep Kickapoo’s Chris Ward off the glass. After two quarters, the Chiefs were up by four with momentum.

But that all changed in the second half.

“During halftime Coach was pretty mad,” explained Ozark senior Tyler Clanton. “He knew we could play better, and he kind of lit that fire in our hearts.”

Whatever Hunter told his team, it worked. The Tigers’ defense was quicker and was able to keep Bussell from getting any good looks at the basket. Down low, Ozark senior Brett Krisik was able to get Ward into foul trouble.

From there, the Chiefs struggled to find any offensive answers. Meanwhile, the Tigers got a spark from sophomore Nick Cookinham, who hit a couple big threes, as well as Clanton, who managed to get several inside shots to go down. Ozark was able to turn an 8-point deficit early in the third quarter into an 8-point lead heading into the fourth.

But the Chiefs made a rally of their own in the fourth quarter, off a couple more 3s from Bussell and one from sophomore Matt Ridder. Kickapoo cut the lead to 5 with five minutes left in the quarter, but that’s as close as they would get. The Tigers hit 8 of 10 from the charity stripe to seal the victory.

For Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee, he’s hoping someone on his team will emerge to help out Ward and Bussell, who accounted for 51 of their 64 points.

“We’ve got good players,” Rippee said. “Sometimes the guys (Ward and Bussell) are doing so well, sometimes you have the tendency to stand and watch. We’ve just got to get more involved in our motion. … We just got to get some kids to grow up, step forward and take a little ownership in our team. And they’ll do that.”

Bussell was the game-high leading scorer with 30 points, followed by Ward with 21.

Ozark had four players in double digits – Cookinham led the Tigers with 18, followed by Clanton with 17, Jakob Neidig with 13 and Krisik with 11.

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.
Videos
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