By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Ozark Christian women’s basketball team, stocked with youth, opens its season tonight by visiting Cottey.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Hinkhouse at Nevada.
OCC doesn’t return a single player from 2010-11 and the nine-player roster contains just one player that isn’t a rookie in eligibility in 6-foot senior Sarah Rhodes of Miami. Rhodes transferred from Manhattan Christian.
“We’re low in number,” second-year Coach Tabitha Hall said on Monday. “But we have more than the six of last season. That’s a step in the right direction.
“Definitely, we’re ready to play,” Hall said. “We’ve been practicing basically with six girls for several weeks. Conditioning began at the end of September.
“We’ve emphasized ball-handling as well as conditioning,” Hall said. “They’ve been learning my philosophy. It will take a while to gel. Again, they’re itching to play.
“We have girls who know and understand the game,” Hall said. “They are willing to learn and improve. They want to be successful this season. Another plus is that we have several players who can handle the ball at point.
“Our ultimate goal is to become a team,” Hall said. “We want to work together, respect each other and help each other. Hopefully, we can surprise some people.
“We had a great time last season,” Hall said. “Those players improved throughout the season.”
Probable starters for the Ambassadors are Rhodes, 5-4 Janie Weece, 5-7 Anna Chandler, 5-3 Terra Byrd and 5-11 Faith Anderson.
Completing the roster are 5-2 Heather Kidwell, 5-6 Jennifer McCombs, 5-8 Brooke Prahl and 5-4 Addy Wood.
Rhodes, Weece and Wood have arrived from the volleyball team that reached the NCCAA Division II National Tournament. McCombs will miss early games from participation in the OCC Living Christmas Tree.
“It’s been fun watching all of these players improve since they began concentrating on basketball,” Hall said.
OCC men to resume
The Ambassadors are 1-2 overall entering today’s 8 p.m. game against John Brown at Siloam Springs, Ark.
Central Bible of Springfield, fueled by Joey Kreuter’s 28 points, beat OCC 74-65 on Friday night in the MidAmerica Nazarene Jeff Uphaus Memorial Tournament at Olathe, Kan.
Brandon Rogers scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for OCC. Zac Hill added 14 points and eight boards and Marko Mircetic tallied 11.
Injured Kyle Wicklund, OCC’s season scoring leader, didn’t play against CBC or in Thursday night’s 80-58 tourney exhibition loss to Grand View (Iowa).
Wicklund practiced Monday but Coach Chris Lahm wasn’t sure he’d get the green light to play at JBU.
Leading scorers for the Ambassadors against Grand View were Darrin Chitwood (13), Rogers (12) and Kendall Wingert (11). Also, Rogers snared 11 rebounds and Hill had seven assists.