Sarcoxie was one of the area’s best small-class teams last year, as the Lady Bears went 21-5 overall and 8-1 in conference play. They finished tied for the conference championship and were district runner-up.
Expectations may be even higher this year with all but two letter winners returning. Among that returning group are four all-conference selections.
Mulit-sport star Chelsea Evans leads that group after averaging 17.6 points and 92 rebounds per game last season.
“(She) is an exceptional leader and is going to be looked to control the boards on both ends of the floor. She has the ability to control the game,” Coach April Ellis said.
Classmates Giselle Lopez and Kierston Dodson also return after all-conference seasons. Lopez scored 11.5 points per game to go with 5 assists and 3.5 steals. Dodson chipped in 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.5 assists per contest. Sophomore Annette Ramirez is the final returning all-conference selection. She was impressive as a freshman with 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game in her debut season.
“Annette plays beyond her years. With the confidence she gained last year as a freshmen I really look for her to flourish both offensively and defensively,” Ellis said.
Sophomores Jessica Hinkle, Chloe Lee and Tiah Cupp along with juniors Ana Lara and Jasmine Cancinos all return after seeing action on varsity last year.
Senior Peyton Kisling is also planning to join the team this year. Elaina Chapman transferred in from Repbulic and should play a key role in her junior season.
Sarcoxie has shown a lot of improvement in the offseason according to Ellis, but one group in particular stood out.
“All of our kids have improved over the summer,” Ellis said. “I was most impressed with our freshman who came out this year and were able to jump right in.”
That group includes Myra Caddick, Kyzer Straw, Tatum Roberson, Jacey Roth and McKenna Bass.
Speed will be a strength for this group.
“I believe our speed will be or biggest asset,” Ellis said. “All of our kids are able to get up and down the floor very well and we will use that to our advantage.”
Sarcoxie has a stellar 44-8 record over the last two years, which could improve even more this season.
“Each year they have gained more experience and expertise in the game,” Ellis said. “I look for us to have continued success and strive to improve each game regardless of the opponent. With the new conference I hope that we compete in the upper end. There are several very good teams and any given night a good team can fall. We will strive to be at our best each night.”