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Ozark will be looking to keep Carthage from revenge in Class 6 District 5 openers


Both Ozark’s boys and girls will be trying to take two from Carthage.

Ozark beat Carthage in both ends of a ‘Super Night’ last Friday. Earlier in the week, the schools were paired opposite each other as first-round foes for Class 6 District 5, to be played at Joplin.

Girls action will get under way Saturday. Ozark (19-6), is the No. 4 seed, and Carthage (11-14), the fifth seed. They will meet at 12:30 p.m.

The teams split their regular-season games. Ozark won last week 50-19.

“You never really want all that,” Ozark coach Doug Hepler said of a quick rematch. “You can’t take tonight and assume you’re going to do that again. They’re going to come ready to play and we’re going to have to come ready to play. The score is going to 0-0.”

Kickapoo (19-3) is the top seed and Nixa (21-4) the second seed.

The rest of the opening-round slate Saturday features Central-Kickapoo at 11 a.m., Joplin-Nixa at 2 p.m. and Lebanon-Republic at 3:30 p.m.

If the higher seeds all win out, semifinal matchups Tuesday would see Ozark against Kickapoo and Republic opposite Nixa.

Kickapoo has won eight straight and Nixa has won nine in a row.

Boys action will tip off Monday, with No. 3 seed Ozark (19-7) and No. 6 seed Carthage (18-7) facing each other at 7:30 p.m.

Ozark coach Mark Schweitzer knows Carthage will be looking for revenge, after losing 81-61 at Ozark.

“If anything, I think it gives them an advantage,” Schweitzer said. “These are 17- and 18-year-olds, they’re dumb. We were all at that age and we were all dumb. Our kids, if they feel like they handled (Carthage) by beating them by 20 and get complacent, Carthage will come back and beat us. They’re good enough to beat us.

“We had to earn this victory and we’re going to have to earn a victory against them in Districts,” he added. “We have to stay locked in and focused.”

Nixa (23-3) is the No. 1 seed, having gone 6-0 against District foes. The Eagles open against Lebanon at 3 p.m.

Monday’s opening-round schedule also includes Republic-Joplin at 4:30 p.m. and Central-Kickapoo at 6 p.m.

If the seeds hold true, semifinal action Wednesday would see Ozark taking on No. 2 seed Kickapoo (22-3) and No. 4 seed Joplin (18-7) facing Nixa.

Nixa owns a seven-game winning streak, Kickapoo has won 10 in a row and Ozark has reeled off six straight victories.