From spectator to super soph, Nixa's Rhianna Gibbons took time to reflect with pride on the significant strides she made over the past year.
Gibbons showed off her athleticism while making steady progress all season and put everything together for quite the finale last week in Nixa's Class 5 District 11 title tilt loss to Kickapoo. She exploded for 20 second-half points as part of a career-high 22-point effort against the Lady Chiefs.
"I went from sitting on varsity last year to starting this year and feel like I grew so much," Gibbons said. "I played with amazing players who made everyone around them better. It's been the best experience for me."
Her Lady Eagles teammates see star potential in Gibbons.
Gibbons also impressed with her resilience. She shook off several misses from 3-point land against Kickapoo, before hitting a trio of treys.
"You're going to miss some, so you've got to keep shooting," she said. "They're going to fall eventually and they did start to fall for me."
No one should ever categorize Gibbons as a stationary 3-point shooter. She has 3-point range, but doesn't relegate herself to standing at the arc. She is also a slasher.
Gibbons and fellow sophomore Ali Kamies represent a big part of Nixa's future. Their class previously included Riley and Avery Arnold and Carly and Mackenzie Simpson, before the two sets of twins transferred to Blue Eye and Clever. Gibbons still plays club ball with the Arnolds for a Yanders Law 16U outfit.