Nevada Daily Mail
For the second consecutive night, a Nevada High School basketball team earned a victory by more points than the opposition scored. On Wednesday, head coach Brent Bartlett's Lady Tigers did it in the Harrisonville Holiday Tournament when they took third place with a 51-24 drubbing of O'Hara High School and head coach John McNeley's Tigers followed that up with a home victory over Monett Thursday by an even more dominant, 60-27 margin.
The Tigers came into Thursday night's contest against head coach Ty Goetz's Cubs hoping to continue the momentum they got from a 58-42 win over Clinton that snapped a two-game losing skid. The Tigers got all they wanted and more on the night as they never seemed challenged in a contest in which everything went right, allowing McNeley's squad to cruise its way to a 33-point blowout.
"The biggest difference in the game is when you make shots, it helps," McNeley said. "It just wasn't Silas making shots, it was a lot of people contributing, knocking down open looks at the basket."
The Tigers certainly didn't have any trouble making shots throughout the night as they shot 46 percent in the opening half and only got better as the game progressed, finishing a staggering 21-for-40 from the floor. Of the seven players who scored, four shot 46 percent or better.
"That's pretty good," McNeley said of his team's new-found offensive fire. "I mean, for a high school team, and for us, in particular, that's pretty good."
But it wasn't just the offense that was firing on all cylinders. The Tigers' stifling defense left the Cubs looking confused and disorganized all night long, leading to 22 turnovers -- 12 in the opening half. Though the Cubs were able to echo Nevada's 28 rebounds in the contest, they finished just 28 percent from the field.
"That's what we wanted to do, get after them," McNeley said of his squad's tough defense.
As they have done all year long, the Tigers didn't simply rely on one player on either side of the floor. Three Tigers finished the night scoring double figures and seven players finished the night with at least two points.
"That's where you've got to be if you're going to get the things done that you want to get done," McNeley said. "You've got to have contributions from, you know, different folks."
Silas Smith led the offensive effort for the Tigers with 17 points, while Jamin Brandt added 11 and Nathan Colopy had 10. For Monett, Kyle Woods led the way with seven points.
Thursday night's contest was a far cry from some of the disappointments McNeley has been forced to endure with his squad throughout the season thus far, but McNeley said he sees a bright future ahead.
"You're going to have growing pains," he said. "Not only are they more comfortable now, but I think we've got a better grasp of what we really want to do on both ends of the floor."
Nevada's varsity wasn't the only team to taste victory over Monett on the night as the JV squad overcame a 22-7 halftime deficit to win by a final score of 44-36. Monett's freshmen had much better luck, defeating Nevada by a final score of 54-27.
The Tigers have a long wait ahead of them before they will be able to see for sure whether or not the turnaround McNeley has been searching for is here. Next on the schedule for Nevada is Thursday, Jan. 3, when they host Carthage.
Tipoff for the junior varsity matchup is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"I hope we're moving in the right direction," McNeley said. "We'll be ok when we come back."