Former Labette County standout Reliford shines at Neosho CC

Magic Reliford is the Panthers' leading scorer - posting 18 points per game this season.

CHANUTE, Kan. – Former Labette County High School standout Magic Reliford is having a breakout sophomore season for the Neosho County Panthers.

“It feels good to be able to put the ball back on the floor, after sitting out for a whole year,” Reliford says, “That really took a toll on me. Once I was able to play again, I had to make sure I came out and did what I was supposed to do, which is score.”

Reliford is averaging a team-high 18.2 points-per-game this year for the Panthers – and he’s been especially hot in the month of March.

The former Grizzly is averaging 20.1 points per game for the month, including three 30-point games: 35 against Cloud County on March 6th, 30 against Barton County three days later and 33 against Independence on March 13th.

“They believe in me here,” Reliford says about his teammates and the coaching staff at Neosho, “When they’re all telling me positive things and telling me what I’m supposed to do, and I know I should do it, it helps a lot. They just tell me to go out there and play hard.”

Not only has Reliford been scoring at a high rate the last few weeks – but he also rarely leaves the floor.

The sophomore has played 39+ minutes in four of the team’s last six games, including playing all 40 minutes twice.

“I really don’t get tired,” Reliford says, “Sometimes I need some water, but for the most part, I want to stay on the floor and help the team. I try not to think about being tired.”

Reliford was a 4-year standout for Labette County High School from 2014-2018. He averaged 16.5 points-per-game in his high school career, including 22.3 points-per-game his senior season. He finished his career at LCHS with more than 1,000 points under the guidance of head coach Brad Smith.

“He was always positive,” Reliford says of coach Smith, “He’s one of my favorite people. He’s always positive. He always pushed me, and told me that he knew I was going to play more after high school. He always kept me on my game.”

Reliford says both his body and his game have matured since his high school days.

He says he was playing at around 145 pounds in high school – but is now playing at about 170 pounds after a couple years in a college weight room.

“They work over here,” Reliford says of Neosho CC, “I’m more comfortable going to the rim now. They’ve definitely put some muscle on me, and they’ve shown me how to score in more ways than just having the ball in my hands…learning how to score off the ball and getting open in other ways.”

He’s having a great season for Neosho CC, and Reliford doesn’t want it to end there.

He’s hoping this season leads to opportunities for him to transfer to a four-year school and continue to play the game he loves.

“Every night you have a chance to turn someone else’s head. You just have to be able to perform every night,” Reliford says, “One right game with the right people looking and you could be in the pro’s…I’m just trying to be the best player I can be. I’m just waiting to see which schools offer me. Then I’ll weigh the options and figure out what’s best for me.”