By Chris Parker
Neosho girls basketball will have a new head coach in Ryan Madison this season. Madison coached at St. Joseph Lafayette for eight seasons from 2010-2018. Each of the last four years at Lafayette he brought his team down to Neosho’s Holiday Tournament and loved the fieldhouse. Last season, Madison was at Capital City High School.
He will look to get Neosho back above .500 after back-to-back eight-win seasons.
“We need to do a much better job of taking care of the ball. And we need to start defending. If we will buy into the defensive end of the floor, we can be a much better team,” Madison said.
Senior Olivia Hixson will be a key leader after she earned second-team all-conference honors last year. Hixson led the team in scoring at 10 points per game as a junior. She also pulled down 3.9 rebounds to go with 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals.
“Olivia Hixson will be a huge contributor for us this year as a senior. She has won numerous post-season honors and is a talented ball-handler and shooter,” Madison said. “She also defends very well. Her basketball IQ is off the charts as well.”
Brylee King was the team’s second-leading scorer as a junior. She got hurt during volleyball season, but she will still be a huge part of the program and will provide leadership according to Madison.
Senior Michelle Lindsay is a senior guard that is returning to the court after sitting out last year.
Juniors Taigen Mitchell, Emily Phillps and Amber Mutz are three guards that will all see varsity time.
The sophomore class is large and features: Reagan McInturff, Baylie Bowers, Raine Harris, Maelynn Garrett, Meredith Baldwin, Karlee Ellick, Jayden Adams and Kailyn Daniels. Bowers saw the most action among that group last year playing in every game averaging 4.5 points per game. McInturff played in 12 games before suffering an injury. She was the fourth-leading scorer on a per-game average at 4.9 points.
“Overall, we will be a fairly young group with a huge class of sophomores. I think we will get better all year and, if we will buy in and defend, I think we can be much more competitive,” Madison said. “We are going to hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor. We need to get a ton better at that end if we are going to compete in the COC which is an unbelievably good conference with great players and coaches.”
Neosho opens the season on Nov. 20 at Lamar.