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Nevada JV basketball boys build foundation

Friday, December 21, 2012


Helping build and maintain a foundation for the varsity, the junior varsity basketball team provides needed experience and an opportunity for players to work on their game.

Nevada's JV boys, coached by Neil Barnes, have won four of their seven games thus far, while making those strides.

"The goal of our junior varsity basketball program is to prepare these players to contribute on the varsity level," noted Barnes. "That can be this season or in future seasons. We would like to win as many games as possible while doing this, but the ultimate goal is to prepare them for when they are playing varsity basketball and to continue their development.

"Another goal is to help our current varsity prepare for each of their opponents this season. We will run different offenses and defenses in practice throughout the season, some of which, we will never run in a game.

"My expectations for the junior varsity are to have good character on and off the court and to give their best effort in games and in practice. I want them to help our varsity get better each day in practice."

The Tigers opened the season with a 43-26 setback to Harrisonville. Brandon Barker led NHS with 9 points in that game.

They bounced back with a 48-45 victory over Van Horn (Kansas City) behind 11 points each from Tristan Smith and Kalen Bradley.

A 44-29 setback followed to Grain Valley, despite 9 each from Smith and Bryant McKinley.

The Tigers edged Carl Junction 59-58 as Barker fired in 17 points.

Warrensburg came out on top 64-41 even though Devion Leavell netted 12 for Nevada.

The Tigers followed with a 35-23 win over Butler as Smith tallied 9, then turned back Clinton 63-56 as Leavell rifled in 15.

The team often changes its starting rotation. The aim is for everyone to play in all the JV games, said Barnes.

In looking over the group, the coach noted, "This year's JV team has a unique mixture of players. Of the 11 players to dress out for us this year, we have five juniors, five sophomores and one freshman.

"The five juniors played for me last year as sophomores and four out of the five sophomores played for me in seventh and eighth grade," Barnes said.

"We are continuing to improve defensively, which will be the main determining factor on how our season goes. I feel that we can score on any given night, but we need to continue to improve defensively."

Offensively, some of the team's assets are shining through.

"One of our strengths offensively is our three-point shooting. We are averaging five made threes per game. This has helped get us going offensively in a few of our games.

"I feel the two main keys to us winning games this year are our defense and being able to handle the basketball."

For the season, Devion Leavell has 33 points, for an 11 points per game average. Tristan Smith is at 60 points, with an 8.6 ppg. Brandon Barker has 50 points, for an 8.3 ppg. Kalen Bradley has tallied 53 points, for a 7.6 ppg. Bryant McKinley has 43 points, with a 6.1 ppg average. Clay Regers has produced 27 points, at a 3.9 ppg clip. Andrew Heathman has 15 points, at a 3 ppg mark. Dalton Eador has scored 8 points, at 1.6 ppg. Connor Harbit has 10 points, at 1.4 ppg. Broderick Mason has 2 points, for a 0.3 ppg mark.

Ben Sommers has not played yet, recovering from a broken wrist.

"We currently have two JV players who dress and have gotten varsity minutes this year," said Barnes, of junior Devion Leavell and sophomore Tristan Smith. Andrew Heathman has been splitting time between the JV and ninth-grade teams.

Remaining schedule

Thursday, Jan. 3 vs. Carthage

Tuesday, Jan. 8 vs. St. Mary's-Colgan

Friday, Jan. 11 at McDonald County

Tuesday, Jan. 29 vs. Webb City

Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Lamar

Tuesday, Feb. 5 vs. Mount Vernon

Friday, Feb. 8 vs. McDonald County

Tuesday, Feb. 12 at Springfield-Central

Friday, Feb. 15 at El Dorado Springs

Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Sedalia- Smith Cotton

Friday, Feb. 22 vs. Northeast (KC)

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