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Lady Eagles one of only four COC teams with a winning record entering league play


Waiting 10 days to play their first game in the new year and their COC opener has been a welcomed rest by Nixa guard Lily Mahy and center Laila Grant.

"I think all our bodies are ready for a little break, after this gritty four-game tournament,” Mahy said after the Pink & White Lady Classic last week. “Our break will be good for us and will help us get right back at it when we come back.”

“I love the Pink & White. But it's very exhausting,” Grant added. “Being able to get some rest, we'll be ready for our next game.”

Both Nixa (9-3) and Ozark (4-6) enjoyed all of this week off and will also be idle the first part of next week. They’ll tip off COC play Thursday, with the Lady Eagles hosting Carl Junction and the Lady Tigers entertaining Carthage.

In years past, the Nixa-Carl Junction contest had much to do with the COC race. They combined to win the last two COC championships. Carl Junction beat Nixa 56-43 last year and went on to an undefeated run in the COC and finished as the Class 5 state runner-up.

But this season, the Lady Bulldogs are 5-4 and their scoring has nosedived from 61.9 points a game last season to 36 this season. They lost by 14 to Webb City in a December tournament, beat winless Parkview by only five and managed to put up just 14 points in a beatdown against Springdale, Arkansas.

The Lady Eagles won’t take Carl junction for granted.

“They're always good and they work hard,” Mahy said. “We’ll have to be ready for them.”

“Carl Junction is very aggressive and very strong,” Grant said. “Last year, we had a bit of a struggle guarding them.”

Ozark’s scoring is also on a dramatic decline. The Lady Tigers are scoring at only a 43.5 points-a-game clip, down by five from their norm of last season and 12 points off their average of 55.5 from two years ago.

Ozark has averaged at least 45 points a game every season going back to the 2007-2008 season.

Thus far, this hasn’t been a season up to the COC’s usual strong standards.

Republic (7-4) has lost by 18 points to Kickapoo and also dropped games to Glendale and Skyline. The Lady Tigers’ pre-season slate hasn’t been easy. They’ve already played four teams with 10 wins or more. Republic’s defense is giving up just 46.5 points a night.

Webb City (4-8) got off to an 0-4 start. The Lady Cardinals lost 6-foot-5 center Sami Mancini in the off-season to Link Academy.

Branson (7-5) has lost three of its last four, but welcomed back five returning starters from last season. Ozark grad Kip Bough is in his 17th season coaching the Lady Pirates.

Carthage (5-7) was dealt losses of 22 and 48 points by West Plains and Kickapoo at the Pink & White.

Neosho (4-4) was beaten by 53 points by Glendale.

Joplin (4-7) and Willard (4-8) also have losing records.