Boys basketball is undefeated


Olivia Hartman

Kael Combs holds the ball, looking for a teammate or a shot to open.

Olivia Hartman , Reporter

   While basketballs bounce, shoes squeak and crowds cheer, players on the court stay focused on getting a win. Nixa’s boys basketball team had an undefeated regular season and is preparing to go into districts. 

   Senior Kael Combs has been on varsity for all of his four years of high school.

   “My performance has definitely improved since last year, and I just want to keep building onto that,” Combs said. “Going into districts, we are working on our defense. It needs to get better as a whole, and our communication will help that.”

   Senior Noah Engelman believes that the greatest strength to the team is their athletic shooters and the teammates’ support for each other.

   “We’re really dominating as a team,” Engelman said. “This year we’ve been really close [in our friendships]–a lot closer than last year and have good relationships and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful so far.” 

   Combs scored 46 points when playing against New Madrid and as of Dec. 3, 2022 he had 1,000 career points.

   “The Blue and Gold is my favorite tournament because it’s a tradition around here and everyone loves the Blue and Gold … NIT [Nixa Invitational Tournament] is a close second.” Combs said. 

   However even with Combs excelling, there had been doubt about this season and how good the team would be. 

   “Before this season, a lot of people didn’t think we would be good and thought this was going to  be our down year because we lost a lot of talent last year with the seniors leaving,” Engelman said. “I think just not listening to that, blocking it all out and just doing what we could do to be successful was probably the biggest obstacle.”

   A very important and contributing factor of this team’s success is the new coach, Brock Blansit. 

   “Blansit is definitely a little bit faster paced and people are more comfortable because he doesn’t sub you out after one mistake.” Combs said. 

   Blansit has helped the team bring home a victory many times and offers advice to them as well.

   “The best advice I got was just to be more of a leader and be more vocal,” Engelman said. “Just help my team and help others in any way I can.”

   The boys on varsity have all grown close and spend time together outside of basketball and school. 

   “The best relationship I have with someone on the team is Ramone,” Combs said. “I’ve been best friends with him since 7th grade when we first met so it’s a good relationship.” 

   Even as the seniors leave they will carry the relationships and memories they have made. 

   “I hope the future teams can continue to be successful and some of the juniors will step up and be leaders and more vocal.” Engelman said.