By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Coaches always try to convince their players that hard work pays off.
With senior guard Silas Smith, Nevada coach John McNeley has an example.
A year ago, Smith averaged 14 points a game off the bench for the Tigers. So far this season, Smith has been Nevada’s leader with 22.5 points per game. He scored a career-high 36 points against Monett.
There’s no doubt that Smith’s extra hours in the gym has yielded benefits.
“He’s a very dedicated and committed basketball player,” McNeley said. “He’s put a lot of time in, and it’s showing this season.”
The 6-foot-2 Smith has become the focal point of Nevada’s offense. Since the holiday break, he scored 34 in a loss to Carthage and 24 in a win against St. Mary’s-Colgan on Tuesday night.
“He’s always been an excellent player from the perimeter, but he has shown the ability to drive this season,” McNeley said. “He can use both hands. He’s a coach’s dream. He’s rarely ever played one-on-one. He’s usually double- or triple-teamed, but he never complains.”
Losing eight seniors from last year’s squad, the Tigers have opened the season with a 5-5 record. Along with Silas, 5-9 junior guard Lane Ketterman, 6-2 junior guard Grant Wolfe and 6-2 senior forward Nathan Collopy received considerable playing time last season.
“The cupboard wasn’t completely bare,” McNeley said. “It wasn’t a complete overhaul.”
However, the Tigers are showing improvement the more they play together.
McNeley said the loss against Carthage was difficult to evaluate as it was Nevada’s first game since the holiday break. Carthage, meanwhile, competed in the Neosho Holiday Classic and showed no signs of rust.
Tuesday night’s 65-53 win against Colgan was a step forward. Jamin Brandt scored 20 points, and the Tigers are doing a better job of taking advantage when Smith is double-teamed.
“I feel like the game against Colgan was one of our more solid performances,” McNeley said. “We’ve got athletic kids and we have the pieces to be competitive on a nightly basis. We are focused and committed to the task at hand.”
Nevada will travel to face McDonald County on Friday night.
Quapaw teams finding success
The Quapaw boys basketball team improved to 10-1 after a lopsided 72-42 win against Colcord on Tuesday night.
Three players scored in double figures for Quapaw as Heath Glerup, Tyler Bacon and Beau Kibel scored 19, 18 and 11, respectively.
The Wildcats’ only setback was a 61-52 loss to Oklahoma Union in early December. Quapaw rebounded to beat Oklahoma Union 62-61 on Dec. 21.
Next up for Quapaw is the Ripley Tournament, where it will face Chandler at 3 p.m. today.
The Quapaw girls also improved to 10-1 with a 49-32 win over Colcord.
Alexa Chapa and Sierra Burkybile led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points each.
The win was revenge for Quapaw as Colcord beat the Wildcats 44-33 earlier this season.
Colcord was ranked 11th in the most recent OSSAA Class 2A rankings, while Quapaw was No. 14.
Quapaw will face Chandler in the Ripley Tournament at 1:40 p.m. today.
Golden City tops 100
Before the holiday break, Golden City’s Dakota Triplett garnered some attention by scoring 42 points in a win against Bronaugh.
In their first game back, the Eagles continued to turn heads with a 102-30 win against Northeast Vernon County on Friday night. Triplett led the way with 28 points, while Gus Scott (17), Wyatt Scott (16) and Brant Dunlap (11) also scored in double figures.
Coronado hot for Frontenac
Frontenac’s Avery Coronado enjoyed a career night Friday, scoring 35 points in a 58-44 win over the Lamar Tigers.
Coronado was 6-for-8 from 3-point land and made 11 of 16 free throws, including all eight down the stretch to help seal the win.