NIXA — The Nixa Lady Eagles and the Neosho Lady Wildcats failed to meet expectations for a quality basketball game Wednesday night, as Nixa came out with a 77-58 win in Central Ozark Conference Large play.
At times, however, the Lady Wildcats must have felt like they were facing six or seven or eight or even nine opponents.
Here’s a few examples:
— Nixa junior Allison Bromley was granted a basket at the end of the first quarter to give the Lady Eagles a 17-15 lead, when the ball seemed to have not left her hands by the time of the red light going off behind the backboard. Where’s that instant replay?
— Early in the fourth quarter, a buzzer sounded as Neosho’s Makayla Hayes shot a bonus free throw. She was given another chance at the free throw, but why the buzzer in the first place?
— Neosho’s Allison Burr, Cailtyn Jordon, and Hayes already had gone to the line for 1-and-1 free throws on the seventh, eighth, and ninth team fouls. However, when Ashley Talley was fouled on Nixa’s 10th team foul, Talley shot a 1-and-1 and missed her only free throw on apparently the 9 1/2th team foul.
— Nixa’s Paige Sportsman even thought she had fouled out in the fourth, but she was told she only had four personal fouls and stayed in the game.
— Neosho’s leading scorers Hayes, Jordon, and Burr all fouled out.
— Just nine seconds after Hayes fouled out, with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in regulation, Neosho head coach Grant Berendt — not exactly the high school hoops equivalent of an Earl Weaver or a Lou Piniella — received two technical fouls and the hook, told by one official “You’ve been talking all night.”
The Lady Wildcats later picked up a third technical foul, and Nixa capitalized with six made technical free throws. The Lady Eagles finished with 26 points on 39 free throw attempts.
Neosho dropped to 11-5 overall and 1-1 COC Large. The Lady Wildcats return to action Friday night against rival McDonald County, the first half of a varsity doubleheader in Anderson.
Hayes scored a game-high 23 points, while Burr and Jordon each added 11 for the Lady Wildcats.
“It was a tough one,” Neosho assistant coach Matt Hixson said. “We were looking forward to this matchup, especially after the big win. We felt we had a big win against Webb City and we were looking forward to this. The snow break kinda gave us a big kink in the plans and everything.
“Coming off our tournament in Sedalia, we felt like second quarters had been giving us a hard time lately. We’ve been talking with the girls about putting together a complete game and for the most part, I felt like we did that. We had a slow second quarter again, I think we had one point until about 3 minutes left in the second, and after that, we kinda got rolling. ….
“But, you know, some tough calls down the stretch and any time that something like that happens, it’s tough on the girls. I can see it in their face, as far as playing with fouls and trying, we don’t have a deep bench, to keep that momentum going when we have three girls with four fouls is tough and then seeing that happen to their coach. It was a tough deal.
“But we told them in the locker room, if you remember last year, we were sitting in this spot last year in reverse order. We had our big win at home, then we faced Nixa in districts and roles reversed on us. We just had a talk with them about how the season’s far from over and we’re looking forward to Friday (McDonald County). We have a quick turnaround and look to get things back on track against Mac, then we’re right back into our COC. It’s still wide open.”
Yes, that second quarter stretch hurt Neosho, as the Lady Wildcats were outscored 12-1 in the first 4:06 and Nixa led 29-16 before Hayes knocked down a pair of free throws to get Neosho somewhat back on track before halftime.
Hayes scored six more points to finish the half and Burr’s basket off a Hayes feed late in the half made it a 35-26 ballgame.
The Lady Wildcats and the Lady Eagles were trading punches for the majority of the third quarter, before Hayes and Jordon went out with their fourth personals, Hayes at 2:30 and Jordon at 58.6.
Both players returned with 6:51 remaining in regulation.
NIXA 77, NEOSHO 58
Neosho 15 11 13 19 — 58
Nixa 17 18 17 25 — 77
NEOSHO (11-5, 1-1) — Makayla Hayes 23, Caitlyn Jordon 11, Allison Burr 11, Ashley Talley 7, Madison Flynn 6.
NIXA (13-6, 2-0) — Allison Bromley 16, Bissett Michaelson 15, Gabby Nielsen 14, Emily Edwards 9, Paige Sportsman 8, Kenzie Hines 7, Kelsey Biro 6, Lakin Copeland 1, Shyla Horgan 1.