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Nixa not able to complete comeback in home-opening loss against Central


Nixa is enduring its first losing streak in three years entering the Blue & Gold Tournament, after the Eagles dropped a a 75-74 decision to Springfield Central on Tuesday.

It had also been three years since Nixa (5-3) lost to a pair of Springfield foes in the same season. The Eagles fell to Kickapoo last week.

For Central coach Jordan Epps, it’s his first victory against his alma mater.

In a matchup of No. 1 seeds at the Blue & Gold, the teams traded scoring spurts throughout the contest.

Nixa jumped out to an 11-4 lead, only to see Central answer with 27-5 run for a 31-16 advantage a few minutes into the second quarter.  The 15-point lead was the biggest of the night for either team.

The Eagles kept their composure and came back to tie things up at 54-all late in the third quarter.

Central regained control and the lead, thanks to an 11-3 run in the fourth quarter that put the Bulldogs up 65-57.

Central continued to score in transition to take a 73-68 lead with 1:25 remaining.

Nixa’s Adam McKnight kept it a one-possession ball game by drawing a charging foul with :30 left and the score 73-70. On the Eagles' ensuing possession, Central opted to foul Devon Kemp, who promptly hit two free throws to make it 73-72.

The Bulldogs' Jordan Pitman answered by sinking a pair of free throws for a 75-72 Central lead.

Nixa had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but missed a 3-pointer. The Eagles got the offensive rebound, but settled for a putback as time ran out.

Kemp netted a trio of 3-point goals in his 15-point night to lead Nixa.

Josh Peters helped spark the Eagles’ rally by scoring all 12 of his points in the second half. He had eight in the fourth quarter. Peters did not take an official shot in the first half. His only field goal try was waved off when he was fouled prior to pulling up for a jumper.

Guard Garrett Hines also scored a dozen points.

Peters and Hines bounced back for a productive night after combining for a modest 10 points in the Eagles’ loss to Kickapoo.

Jackson Cantwell helped Nixa stay within striking distance early on by scoring eight of his 12 points in the first half.

Central was led by Bryce Walker’s 19 points, Keion Epps’ 18 and Tyrique Brooks’ 14.