By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Neosho and Nixa won consolation games in the annual Joplin Freeman/Lady Eagle Classic on Friday at Missouri Southern State University.
Nixa, ranked fifth in Missouri Class 5, slipped past Class 4 No. 8 Webb City 52-48 before Neosho spanked Joplin 48-19 in Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
The margin of defeat for Joplin was a surprise considering Neosho, playing at home, had nudged the Eagles 51-50 on Nov. 27 in the season opener for both teams.
But Neosho led 14-2 after one quarter and, helped by 25 turnovers, led 31-9 at intermission.
Said Joplin coach Dustin Larsen: “We aren’t proud of our performance. But we are proud of our program and the direction it is going.”
Said Neosho coach Lance Robbins: “We came out and played with intensity and energy. That’s something we didn’t do on Thursday.
“We got off to a good start,” Robbins said. “We gained confidence and we continued to build on the start.”
Chelsey Henry and Morgan Rathmann scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, for the Wildcats. Henry and Rathmann combined to hit 12 of 21 shots from the field.
Neosho also got seven rebounds from Morgan Rogers, six assists and five steals from Corea Lowery and five steals from Whitney Wise.
Joplin’s Samantha Stout, canning 3 of 4 treys, tallied 13 to pace the Eagles. Kelsey Johnson grabbed eight rebounds. Stout’s basket at 1:43 provided the Eagles with their scoring in the first quarter,
Nixa, against Webb City, scored 30 points in the first half to match its entire output against Blue Valley West in the first round.
“We had horrible shooting — I believe 22 percent from the field — against Blue Valley West,” Nixa coach Jim Middleton said.
“We shot much better tonight,” Middleton said. “We got some good looks at the basket in the fourth quarter, built an eight-point lead and that was good enough.
“You try to get that edge and hang on in these types of games,” Middleton said with a grin of the clash between Central Ozark Conference Large Division teams.
Said Webb City coach Brad Shorter: “We played well. We played hard. We moved the ball well. We played together. We showed we could compete.
“Nixa shot the ball well and we gave them too many second chances,” Shorter. “Nixa scored eight points in the first half off second chances.
“You hate to lose, of course,” Shorter said. “But we did some good things.”
Toshua Leavitt’s trey at the end of the third quarter boosted Nixa ahead for good at 41-38. Jeana Raper then sparked the Eagles with a deuce and a trey for the 46-38 lead.
Webb City didn’t score in the final quarter until less than four minutes were left.
Nixa finished at 50 percent from the field at 20 of 40 and was nine of 16 on treys.
The Eagles received 16 points from Raper, 11 from Leavitt and 10 from Payton Klempel (5-for-5 from the floor).
Webb City received 20 points from Mikaela Burgess, 11 points and nine rebounds from Desirea Buerge and nine points from Kaitlin Beason.
Webb City, although it led 26-16 on the boards, shot 47.1 percent from the field and committed more turnovers, 12-6.