Posted: Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:15PM

Nixa storms back in second half to beat Kickapoo




Class 5 No. 2 Nixa did not lead for a single second of the first 21 minutes of its home tournament title game against Kickapoo on Saturday.

The more important stat for Nixa was that it did not trail for a single second of the final 11 minutes of the game on the way to a 52-41 win over rival Kickapoo.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

Nothing was going right for Nixa in the first half as the Chiefs jumped all over the host Eagles in front of a packed gym to take a 16-5 lead after the first quarter and a 22-13 lead at the half.

Kickapoo controlled tempo early kept Nixa off balance.

"We were one-for-10 from three in the first half and we weren't attacking. We were taking the first open shot," Nixa head coach Jay Osborne said. "We have to get more aggressive. We were very uninspired the first half."

Nixa star and Missouri State signee Austin Ruder went scoreless in the opening half.

All of that changed coming out of the break.

"We knew we had to come out with some energy and we didn't want to lose on our home court. With Kickapoo being a rival we definitely couldn't let that happen," Ruder said. "I knew it is my job to get us going. Once I made a couple shots we all made shots. It was a real team effort."

Ruder came out on fire as he poured in 13 points in the second quarter to lead Nixa on a 19-5 run for the eight-minute stretch.

As Nixa reeled in the Chiefs during the third quarter, Nixa’s home court advantage started to shine through with a loud home crowd.

"It was a great Saturday crowd," Ruder said. "Once they got into it I think it rattled Kickapoo for a little bit and it really fueled us. I think that was really the turning point in the game."

After only shooting two free throws in the first half, the Eagles upped their aggressiveness and got to the line eight times in the second half and knocked down seven of their attempts.

"It was just a matter of attacking the rim," Osborne said. "We are aggressive and we are athletic and that is our game. We have to get to the rim."

Ruder finished with 20 points, all in the second half to outscore the Chiefs 20-19 by himself in the final two periods.

Kickapoo’s Chris Ward battled down low all night and led Kickapoo with 15 points as the only Chief in double figures.

Third Place: Willard 55, Hogan Prep 46 - CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

Willard jumped out early on Hogan Prep to lead 16-9 after one quarter, but Prep would respond and take a one-point lead at the half. The Tigers clawed back in the third quarter to grab a one point lead and then finished the job by blowing Hogan Prep away 19-9 in the final frame to win.

Hogan Prep played just six players in the game.

Chris Kendrix led the way with a team-high 18 points for Willard. Teammate Kolbe Kinghorn chipped in 14 points. The Rams were led by Amaad Wainright’s game-high 25 points.

Video: Willard 55, Hogan Prep 46

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Top 100 Photos of Week 1 Football


Catch the best photos caught by the O-Zone cameras in Week 1.

Pictures: Best Fans of Week 1 Football


See all of the best fans caught by O-Zone Cameras in Week 1

Pictures: Willard 43, Nevada 26


Willard wins on the road.
Videos
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: COC Large football conference preview
In terms of talent, there is no conference better than the COC-Large; the Class of 2014 will have no less than a half dozen D-1 players alone. While the conference isn't as deep as some others, there will be no shortage of storylines in 2014, starting...
Read More
14 for '14: Top storylines to watch
Here are 14 of the top storylines we'll be watching for the 2014 fall sports season. What are you looking forward to? 14 for '14: Breakout football players - CLICK HERE 14 for '14: Defensive players to watch - CLICK HERE 14 for '14:...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Mid-Lakes football conference preview
Four of the conference's seven teams were ranked at some point in 2013. The Mid-Lakes will again be top loaded in 2014, with Strafford, Skyline, and Marionville all in the conversation to compete for state championships. But, the biggest question in MLC...
Read More
Most Viewed