As Josh Peters preps for Nixa’s showdown with Kickapoo in the teams' Class 6 District 5 title tilt tonight, he almost longs for those days in which he was anonymous.
For most of the first month of this season, the Nixa junior forward had all the offensive touches he wanted. After all, he was a newcomer to the Eagles’ lineup with little varsity experience from his sophomore season.
Over the season’s first few weeks, Peters’ counterpart on defense would sometimes slack off or have a wandering eye toward Nixa point guard Kael Combs and give Peters free space.
"I wish I could go back a little bit,” Peters said with a laugh, while recalling the freedom he enjoyed.
Everything changed for Peters in late December, when he burst upon the SWMO hoops scene in a big way by netting seven 3-pointers and 25 points in the Blue Division final at the Blue & Gold Tournament.
He outscored Rogersville 21-18 in the first half.
Peters finished regular-season play shooting at a 50-percent clip from 3-point land. But he hasn't shown the same explosiveness offensively as he did early on.
Nixa opponents are assigning one of their top defenders on Peters, just as they do, of course, for Combs. With Peters working away from the ball, it hasn’t been nearly as easy for him to get the amount of touches he did in the first few weeks of this season.
“He’s going to be toward the top of everyone’s scouting report because he can really shoot it and he can get to the basket,” Eagles coach Brock Blansit said.
Over the course of Nixa’s first two District games, Peters felt plenty of defensive pressure and was admittedly flustered by his offense. He scored seven points against Ozark and nine versus Joplin.
“People don’t like to leave me open as much anymore,” Peters said. “I’ve had to compensate for that by doing other things, like trying to drive a little more.”
Having Peters get hot and stay hot would go a long way toward the Eagles repeating as District champs.
“I've been so-so on the offensive end," Peters said. "Seeing the ball go in the hole would definitely help me break through,” he said.
Gametime is 6 p.m., with Ozark's doors opening at 5 p.m.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here