By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
After not fielding a varsity team last season, the Marionville Lady Comets hope to work their way back up under first-year girls’ coach Paden Grubbs.
The Lady Comets aren’t too far removed from their last trip to the Class 2 final four when they finished third with a 43-37 win over North Platte in 2011-2012. But, there is a long road ahead.
Marionville played a junior varsity schedule in 2017-2018, after going 3-23 the year before, and returns two starters in 2018-2019.
• Kelsie Grimm is a 5-5 junior who averaged 8.8 points per game and is the “veteran of the group,” Grubbs said. “We are going to lean on her to handle the ball and make open shots.”
• Kaylee Neveln is a 5-8 junior who pulled down five rebounds per game in 2017-18. “Kaylee is a tough competitor. We need her to be a great rebounder and defensive leader.”
• Isabella Stephens is a 5-6 sophomore, who Grubbs describes as a “really good athlete. She will be asked to guard at a high level and take care of the ball.”
Marionville, which moves to the Southwest Conference this season after years in the Mid-Lakes Conference, also returns sophomores Paige Murphy (5-5), Leslie Vasquez (5-2) and Ashlin Wilkin (5-2).
“This season will be a learning experience for everyone,” said Grubbs, who served on the boys’ staff for four years. “This will be my first year coaching girls’ basketball. We have a very young basketball team, but a good group that works hard.”
Grubbs will be looking to several newcomers to make an impact this season.
• Morgan Barrickman, a 5-6 junior, did not play last year because of an ACL injury. Grubbs said having her back “will be a big boost for our basketball team.”
• Emma Barrickman, 5-4 freshman, has a lot of potential. “A very good athlete, who is growing as a basketball player.”
• Bree Schapeler, 5-5 freshman. “Works hard in the weight room and will need to bring that toughness to the court.”
• Shelby Webb, 5-11 freshman. “Moves good for her length and can be a factor rebounding and scoring in the low post.”
• Katie Stafford, 5-6 junior. Is in her first year playing basketball. “She is a good athlete who can shoot it.”
Other newcomers the Lady Comets have coming in include: Kenzie Green, 5-4 senior; Chelsey Hupp, 5-2 freshman; Colesie Inmon, 5-3 junior; and Alexis Brayfield, 5-2 freshman.
Marionville opens its season on the road at Chadwick on Nov. 19.
“We will need to come in and work hard on the little things every day,” Grubbs said.