United on the Court

The tight knit team competes on home court during their annual invitational.


Lydia Cheek, Reporter

   The crowd roared during the annual Nixa Invitational Tournament (NIT) hosted by Nixa. Teams from Kansas City and Arkansas came up to compete in a pool bracket. Eight teams went head to head in the fight to be crowned the 2023 NIT Champion. The Lady Eagles started up strong with their first game against Cape Girardeau Notre Dame. They had a strong defensive game and were able to end their first night 61-42. Sophomore Laila Grant competed in her first NIT and scored the most points on the team that night.

   Night two was a battle competing against Norfork, Arkansas, and against two of the NIT lead scorers, Keely Blanchard and Kiley Alman. Junior Sadie Conway replaced senior Kinley Hammitt in the starting lineup that night and did not disappoint. Conway made six 3-point shots and led the Lady Eagles in scoring. Conway came off an ACL injury earlier this season which affected where she was in the lineup, but claims that only made her push harder.

   “I felt like I had to fight and prove that I have to stay here,” Conway said. “I felt like I was on Cloud 9 during that whole game and it was a great game for me personally.

   The final night was the fight of all fights for the Lady Eagles when they played against Park Hill South for the chance of a tournament win. While the Eagles came off short, seniors Norah Clark and Allison Jones scored a combined 23 points. Clark has enjoyed seeing the NIT grow more competitive since she has competed in it.

   “In our previous tournaments we have had really good teams, but not all state ranked teams,” Clark said. “We have always played a good team every night which made us play harder every night.”

   The team ended second in the championship 42-61 and looks forward to districts which start in Ozark at the beginning of March.