The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 31, 2012

OCC men head to Cookson Hills Classic

Ozark Christian College men’s basketball coach Chris Lahm is more than satisfied with the 9-2 effort by the Ambassadors.

“I’m ecstatic,” Lahm said Monday. “We’re playing well as a team. All of the players are contributing. I said all along I like this group. I’m not entirely surprised by our success.”

Yes, it’s true, Coach Lahm was saying it in preseason.

You can credit chemistry. You can credit the correct mix of veterans and youngsters. You can credit talent. Whatever, OCC is doing several things right, Lahm said.

“Now, an injury, or sickness, suddenly could make us not very good,” Lahm said. “We need more depth.”

OCC, which is 2-0 in the Midwest Christian College Conference, resumes with two games this week in the Cookson Hills Classic at the Cookson Hills Children’s Home in Kansas, Okla.

The Ambassadors open against Lahm’s former school as a student and coach — Nebraska Christian — at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Games this week for Tab Hall’s OCC women at Cookson Hills are at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday against Lincoln Christian of Illinois and at 9 a.m. on Friday against Johnson University of Tennessee.

The OCC men’s roster has a different look with 6-foot-5 freshman Brandon Rogers returning home to Texas. He takes averages of some 12.5 points and 10 rebounds.

“We’ll miss Brandon’s defensive rebounding,” Lahm said.

Returning to help OCC on the inside is Webb City product Philip Donna, Lahm said.

But Lahm said it’s unsure how much 6=1 junior Marko Mircetic can contribute the second half of the season because of his internship at Leggett & Platt.

“Maybe when school resumes in mid-January we’ll add a couple of guys,” Lahm said. “But, without Marko, we’re at nine players.”

Likely starters for OCC in its four-guard offense are 6-0 sophomore Kendall Wingert, 6-0 junior Darrin Chitwood, 5-11 freshman Cameron Woodring, 6-2 sophomore Zac Hill and 6-6, 225-pound Kyle Wicklund.

Making it nine are Donna, 6-4 sophomore Matt Derr and 5-8 freshmen Cody Goodwin and Jarred Witt.

Wicklund, an ACCA All-American in 2011-12, is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds.

“Definitely, Kyle (a Carthage High School graduate) is a top-notch player at our level,” Lahm said.

Hill is averaging 12.5 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists. Chitwood is adding nearly 10 ppg.

OCC has lost at Southwestern (Winfield, Kan.) and John Brown (Siloam Springs, Ark.). OCC won 87-80 at Central Christian College of McPherson (Kan.) on Dec. 8. It was the first loss for Central in 11 games.

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