By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
Joplin’s Valentine’s Day looked more like Halloween on Thursday night and the high-powered West Plains Zizzers were to blame.
The Zizzers upped their record to 24-1 with a 74-13 win over Joplin at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
“What I’m most pleased with is that we’ve come out with intensity and focus every game,” West Plains coach Scott Womack said. “During the year, a long season, you’ll have ups and downs, but we’ve stayed pretty steady all season long. And we did the same tonight.”
Andi Haney — who became West Plains’ career scoring leader earlier this season — scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter as the Zizzers grabbed a 27-4 lead. Haney was 9-of-10 from the foul line and had 16 points at halftime.
“She really runs the offense and gets everyone involved and is a good scorer, obviously,” Womack said. “And everyone had found their role around Andi and they do what they need to do for the team to win.”
Joplin struggled against West Plains’ defense, scoring just four points in each of the first two quarters and five in the third before going scoreless with a running clock in the fourth.
“You have to give a lot of credit to West Plains,” Joplin coach Dustin Larsen said. “As a program and as a team, we didn’t come out with the focus and the discipline and work ethic to compete and make ourselves better.
“It’s times like these when you really find out how you’re going to grow as a program. You find out what kind of people and what kind of program you have.”
Joplin was led by Kelsey Johnson’s five points while Jaqueline Lieurance and Danielle Hollingshead each added four.
Cassidy Johnson added 17 for West Plains and Kellie Bowen had 11.
West Plains has locked up at least a share of the Ozark Conference crown. The Zizzers (8-0 in the conference) host Parkview (7-1) in their regular season finale on Tuesday and can claim the title outright with a win.
“Our success so far comes down to the seniors,” Womack said. “They keep the girls focused and ready to go. When they get off the bus they’re ready to play.”