Tousha Leavitt got hot.
The sophomore guard scored 23 points, including six 3s, to help lead Nixa to a 64-45 win over Marionville Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Pink & White Lady Classic – White Division.
“A lot of times Jeana is our ice breaker, tonight she was having trouble getting on track, so usually between the two of them, one of them gets going and tonight Tousha did early,” said Nixa coach Jim Middleton.
The Class 2 Lady Comets came out to play early, scoring the first five points of the game, before Leavitt got going.
“It’s just tough. Marionville has a really nice program and were in the state playoffs last year. They are up and coming and they would love nothing better than to beat a Class 5 program,” said Middleton.
Nixa, #5 in Class 5 state rankings, picked up the intensity in the second quarter, leading by as many as 16 before settling for a 32-20 halftime lead.
Marionville, #8 in the state Class 2 polls, continued to fight, cutting the lead to 43-36 on a Jaycie Dishman tray, before the deeper, more experienced Nixa team took over for good.
“We had a mix up on a substitution and she was left wide open and things weren’t looking real good at that point. But then we were able to work the ball back inside and get to the free throw line and I think we settled down a bit better after that,” said Middleton
Marionville coach Ted Young wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort, but knows this was a learning experience.
“I hope this helps us. We battled back, got within six or seven. I was proud of them, the way they came back. I think we need to learn to be more aggressive. We settled for a lot of jump shots,” said Young.
The Lady Comets received 14 points from sophomores Jaycie Dishman and Josie Young.
Nixa will take on top seeded Republic, a 69-49 winner over Crane, in the semifinals Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
“I’m just happy to get the win. It sets up another COC battle between us and Republic,” said Middleton.
Marionville will play Crane with the winner advancing to the fifth place game Saturday. The two squads split a pair of early meetings.
“It’s a big game. Both teams have learned from playing two quality opponents. We know each other and it’s a good battle,” said Young.