Fresh from getting the best of Carthage big man Alex Martini on Friday, Nixa’s Luke Roemen feels justified agreeing with a growing sentiment that he belongs in any conversation centered on the best centers in the COC. 

“I definitely think so, at least I hope I’m in it,” Roemen said. “I’m working my butt off so I can be in it.”

Roemen reached the 20-point mark for the second time in as many COC games this week while leading the Eagles past the Tigers 67-47.

Martini got a dunk during the night, but put up a modest six points in the first half. Roemen had 10 points by halftime and Nixa (8-7 overall and 2-0 in the COC) broke away to 34-21 lead over Carthage (9-5 and 1-1).

The 6-foot-4 Roemen was able to find gaps around the 6-8 Martini.

“He’s good, athletic and very tall,” Roemen said. “I have resect for Martini. He’s a good player. It’s very difficult to get a rebound over him. I tried to use my quickness and athleticism against him. 

“Since I’m not the tallest power forward, I have to use quickness and athleticism to get my shot off.”

“He has to utilize his quickness around size,” coach Jay Osborne added. “When he goes through someone’s shoulder and attacks the rim, he’s finishing his shots. He did a good job attacking (Martini)."

Roemen collected 21 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots against Willard on Tuesday. 

As good as Roemen is playing, Osborne sees areas he can improve on to make himself even more dangerous.

“We need to get him to face the goal and recognize the double team,” Osborne said. “He struggles (seeing) the double team. When he recognizes it, he can pass out of it. He gets going a little too fast offensively sometimes. When he slows down, he’s getting good around the rim.”

Martini and Nixa guard Kaleb Wofford are summer ball teammates for Yanders Law. But Roemen didn’t receive a scouting report from Wofford on Martini.

“He just said he knew him, that was pretty much it," Romen said with a laugh.

Roemen flourished with moves in the paint and 8-for-8 efficiency at the free-throw line.

One of Nixa’s few three-sport athletes, he has maintained his shooting touch during track season in the spring, as well as over the summer and during football season in the fall by playing AAU ball for Program Select on weekends. The Eagles’ Brandon Gordon also plays for Select.

“We were traveling throughout football season, gong to Oklahoma and Kansas,” said Roemen. “Playing year-round keeps my shot in check and I make sure my skills stay sharp.”

Osborne also appreciated Nixa’s ball movement against Carthage and the manner in which the Eagles set Roemen up for success.

“A lot of times for a post player it’s about the guards getting you the ball at the right spot and the right time,” Osborne said. “We’re making progress moving the ball. Our kids are playing unselfish. We are still having a couple of times in which we should shoot, but don’t and we dribble instead. There are also times in which we have a guy running at us and we should shot-fake, let him fly by and then shoot or dribble.” 

Wofford converted on a four-point play during his 11-point night. Gordon added nine points.

Nixa has won four of its last five games to move above the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Eagles entertain Kickapoo on Tuesday.

CARTHAGE (47) — Huntley 0 2-2 2, Jackson 2 0-0 6, Downing 0 0-2 0, Frisenbetz 2 0-0 6, Mueller 0 1-2 1, Carlton 4 2-2 10, Templeman 1 0-0 2, Martini 8 2-3 18, Gall 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 7-11 47.

NIXA (67) — Long 2 2-2 6, Akers 2 2-2 6, Young 0 0-2 0, Wofford 3 3-3 11, Engelman 0 1-2 1, Jones 4 0-0 8, Gordon 3 2-3 9, Collard 2 2-2 6, Roemen 6 8-8 20. Totals 22 20-24 67.

Carthage 11 10  6   20 - 47

Nixa         15 20 19  13 - 67

3-point goals — Wofford 2, Jackson 2, Gordon.

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