O-Zone Opinion


Jordan's Hashtag All-Star Girls

After nearly four months the high school basketball season has reached its end. All-conference, all-district, and all-state teams have been released, recognizing the area’s best young talent. I’ve also decided to recognize area round-ballers for their outstanding seasons. Here are my All-Hashtag teams for 2012-2013.

All-#gettinbuckets (Best Scorers)

Aubrey Buckley, junior - Parkview: Buckley, along with fellow Viking standout Erik Durham, probably gave the score keeper at Parkview a writer’s cramp on a few occasions. The 6-foot-1 forward puts the ball in the hole as well as anyone in the area can, despite seeing every sort of double team and junk defense in the book. Her 636 points (22.7 ppg) and 55% shooting from the field were both team-highs. She averaged nearly 28 points a night against SPS foes, including a season-high 41 against Glendale.

Cailyn Long, sophomore – Sparta: There was no sophomore slump for the Lady Trojans standout wing. Long picked up right where she left off last season, scoring 569 points (21.1 ppg) for Sparta. Long, who had 14 games of 20+ points; shot a ridiculous 64% from the field, 50% from deep, and 77% from the line. She also led the team in rebounds (7.9), assists (3.3) and steals (3.3). Long had a season-high 34 against Forsyth going 13-for-15 from the field, 4-for-4 from 3, and 4-for-4 from the line.

Linsey Denney, senior - Everton: If you haven’t heard of Denney before, prepare to be amazed. I couldn’t decide which team to put her on, but her 639 points (24.6 ppg) naturally landed her here. Denney scored 30+ in five games this season, including a 48 point outburst in a 79-75 win over Bradleyville. The Cottey College signee wasn’t just a one trick pony either. The 5-10 forward also had team highs in rebounds (9.3 rpg) and steals (3.1 spg).

Alice Heinzler, senior - Republic: The C of O signee led the 25-2 Lady Tigers in scoring for the second season in a row, scoring 544 points (20.1 ppg) including 14 games of 20+ points. The 5-foot-5 guard buried 66 triples, including going 7-for-10 from 3 against state-ranked Dexter, a game in which she scored a season-high 36 points.

Casey Askins, sophomore – New Covenant Academy: Askins has been taking a page from the Fugees book, as the sophomore guard has been “Killin’ them softly” of the past two years. Askins broke the 1,000 point barrier in February despite having missed several games. Her 536 points (21.4 ppg) led the Lady Warriors, as did her 268 rebounds (10.7 rpg), 91 steals (3.6 spg) and 47 blocks (1.8 bpg). It’s going to be a long two years for opposing Mark Twain Conference schools.

All-#icleanglass (Best Rebounders)

Morgan Kensinger, senior – Fair Grove: Kensinger was an absolute monster inside for the Lady Eagles. Not only did she tally team-highs in rebounds (356/12.3 rpg) and blocks (122/4.2bpg), she also led Fair Grove in scoring (467/16.1 ppg). Kensinger, who will play volleyball at Evangel next year, finished the season with 14 double-doubles for the Class 3 – District 11 champions.

Sarah Cook, junior – Seymour: The 5-foot-11 forward made a living grabbing rebounds this season for the 25-4 Lady Tigers. Cook tallied 10+ rebounds in 16 games this season, with a season-high 21 coming in a 54-49 win over Salem. Her 300 rebounds (10.3 rpg) and 354 points (12.2 ppg) are the highest amongst underclassmen for Seymour.

Jolene Shipps, sophomore - Stockton: After back-to-back Class 3 state championship appearances (winning it all in 2011), the Lady Tigers seemed poised for a rebuilding year. However, the 6-foot-3 Shipps had different plans. Behind her 13.6 ppg and 8 boards, Stockton made a quarterfinal run before losing to eventual state runner-up Cameron. Shipps also led the team in blocks and assists in garnering All-Mid-Lakes honors.

Bailie Osborne, sophomoreLicking: Osborne became must see basketball this year for the Lady Wildcats. Her 282 rebounds (10.2 rpg) and 106 blocks (3.8 bpg) led Licking, and her 14.4 ppg was second on the team. In matchup with Final Four bound St. James, Osborne collected one of her 16 double-doubles when she racked up 12 points, 20 rebounds and tied a season-high with seven blocks.

Tamiaya Henderson, senior – Mount Vernon: The two-time state champ capped her stellar four year career with another solid season, leading Mount Vernon in steals (115/4.3 spg) and blocks (65/2.4 bpg), as well as rebounding (217/8 rpg). Henderson, who owns the Mount Vernon record for career field goals made (433) will take her game to Pitt State next year.

All-#handdownmandown (Best Shooters)

Jeana Raper, senior – Nixa: The 5-foot-7 guard got it done all season long for the Lady Eagles on their way to a state quarterfinal run before losing to eventual state champion Columbia Rock Bridge. Raper led Nixa in points (435/14.5 ppg) and steals (72/2.4 spg). However, it was her ability to take and make big shots that was most impressive about her game. Raper hit an insane 45% of her 3-point attempts (92-of-205), including going 3-for-3 in the final four minutes in a district semifinal win over Branson that saw her ignite a 20-1 run in the 58-56 comeback victory. She followed that with a 30 point outburst, including eight 3s, in the district final against rival Ozark.

Maddie Hursh, junior - Chadwick: By now if you haven’t heard of Maddie Hursh you may be living under a rock. Chadwick’s 5-foot-6 guard shattered Addy Roller’s state record for 3s in a season (149). It wasn’t uncommon for Hursh to hit five or six treys in a game. In fact, in four days at the Walnut Grove Tournament she hit a tournament record 27 triples. In addition to leading the Final Four bound Lady Cardinals in points (650/ 20.3 ppg); Hursh also racked up 108 steals.

Toshua Leavitt, sophomore - Nixa: I may catch some flak for putting two Nixa players here, but those that are mad probably haven’t seen the 5-foot-4 guard play. She plays with her emotions on her sleeve, which can get her into trouble at times, but there is no denying her ability. Leavitt canned 60 3s for Jim Middleton’s quarterfinal squad, hitting 43% of her attempts. She can get hot in a hurry too. Leavitt hit six 3s in a Pink & White Lady Classic game against Marionville, five of which came in the first half.

Kelsie Cleeton, sophomore - Hillcrest: Cleeton carried over the steady play from her freshman year, leading the Lady Hornets in points (19.8), assists (4.7), and steals (3.4). The 5-foot-7 guard made a school-record 52 triples at a 41% clip. Cleeton, who also pulled down 6.2 rebounds a night, wasn’t afraid of the big shot, knocking down a game-winning jumper to lift Hillcrest over Camdenton on Feb. 14.

Alexa Beck, junior - Skyline: Beck wasn’t too keen on shooting if it wasn’t a three. Who can blame her? The 5-foot-8 guard buried 38% of her 3-point attempts (84-for-223), accounting for nearly 72% of her points on the season. Beck, who finished second on the Lady Tigers in scoring (351 points/ 10.6 ppg), scored a season-high 25 points against Buffalo in December, connecting on six treys. Skyline advanced to the Class 2 Final Four, losing to eventual state champion Crane in the semifinals, before beating Marceline to take third.

All-#idowhatiwant (Most Versatile)

Andi Haney, senior – West Plains: Haney saved the best for last in her stellar four year career for the Lady Zizzers. The 5-foot-7 guard dominated every area of the game for West Plains, leading the team in points (676/23.3 ppg), rebounds (214/7.3 rpg), assists (179/6.2 apg), and steals (129/4.3 spg). The Harding signee also shot 52% from the field, 41% from 3, and 80% from the line. Haney is a McDonald’s All-American nominee as well as the winner of our postseason MVP poll.

Heather Harman, junior – Walnut Grove: The 5-foot-9 guard is one of the most entertaining players to watch because she can affect game in so many ways. Her cross court, one-handed bounce passes and stop-and-pop 3s have become common place for Walnut Grove fans. “LeBron Harman” led the Lady Tigers to the Class 1 state championship, pacing the team in points (620/19.4 ppg), rebounds (226/7.1 rpg), assists (180/ 5.6 apg), as well as knocking down 84 treys, five of which came in the state championship where her free throw in the closing seconds lifted WG over Chamois 47-46.

Jordan Alford, sophomore - Thayer: She may be from a small town, but Alford has a big time game. The SCA Player of the Year had a ridiculous season. Alford led the Lady Bobcats in points (19 ppg), assists (5 apg) and steals (5 spg), in addition to shooting a staggering 55% from the field. Alford saved her best for big games, scoring 25 points in the MV-BT/Liberty Tournament championship win over Hartville, 63-57.

Hannah Cook, junior – Ozark: The junior wing is always a tough matchup because of her size and athleticism. At 5-foot-10, she has the ability to battle in the post and rebound (170/ 4.6 rpg). However, she is more natural on the perimeter scoring (421 points/ 15.6 ppg) or creating scoring opportunities for others (88 assists/ 3.3 apg). Cook, who is receiving division 1 attention, also led Ozark with 100 steals (3.7 spg).

Mackenzie Farmer, sophomore – Mount Vernon: Farmer emerged as one of the area’s top sophomores, nearly doubling her average from her freshmen season to lead Mount Vernon in scoring (345/ 13.8 ppg). The 5-foot-9 guard also made her presence felt in other areas of the game, dishing out a team-high 5.3 assists per game, while also grabbing 108 rebounds (4.3 rpg), and recording 83 steals (3.2 spg). Farmer also stepped up in big games for Mount Vernon, scoring 24 and 20 points respectively against Class 4 playoff teams Bolivar and Webb City.

All-#itseemslikeivebeeninhighschoolforever (Solid Seniors)

Braythan Helms, Seymour: The 5-foot-7 guard helped lead Seymour back-to-the state playoff appearances, scoring 506 points (17.4 ppg) as well as pulling down 157 rebounds (5.4 rpg) and 52 steals (1.8 spg). Helms scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including a pair 30+ point performances back in January.

Moriah Dapprich, Branson: The 6-foot forward terrorized COC opponents this year to the tune of 16.3 points and 10.1 rebounds a night, including 13 double-doubles. The Wichita State signee also led the Lady Pirates to the championship game of the Pink and White Lady Classic.

Alex Botkin, Republic: The 5-foot-7 guard was a model of versatility this season for the Lady Tigers. Although here numbers aren’t overly gaudy (9 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg), Botkin was a stalwart on the defensive end, often checking the opposing team’s best player. The SBU signee was the only Republic player to reach double figures in at least one game in the three major stat categories.

Maggie McMenamy, Crane: The lone senior on Crane’s state championship team was an important one. McMenamy paced the Lady Pirates with 365 points (11.8 ppg) and 210 rebounds (6.8 rpg), including a 13 point, 8 rebound game in the 55-45 win over New Haven for the Class 2 crown.

Mary Bergmann, Dadeville: The Lady Bearcats lead guard was tough to stop throughout 2012-13. The 5-foot-4 Bergmann poured in 590 points (21.9 ppg) to go along with 114 steals (4.2 spg) on her way to another all-state season.

All-#onyoulikewhiteonriceinasnowstorm (Best Defenders)

Kyndall Bunch, senior – Willow Springs: The 6-foot forward has SCA coaches thrilled that her career is finally over. Not only could Bunch score (353/14.1 ppg) but she also led her team in rebounds (229/9.1 rpg), blocks (47/2 bpg), and steals (72/3 spg). Her athleticism made her a difficult matching, causing opponents to have to account for her no matter where she was on the court.

Riley Isreal, junior – Crane: The Lady Pirates won the state championship because of their ability to lockdown defensively, and it all started with Isreal. The 5-foot-7 guard always drew Crane’s toughest defensive assignment, and rarely, if ever, was she overmatched. In the state title game Isreal chased around New Haven’s high-scoring guard Rachel Steinhoff for much of the game, and still was able to finish with 12 points of her own in addition to getting a pair of blocks and steals. Isreal also hit the buzzer-beating trey in the quarterfinals against Crocker to send Crane to the Final Four.

Lexi Harman, junior – Walnut Grove: There are few things in life more certain than death and taxes; however Harman’s defense would probably be one. “Lexi Wade” is relentless defensively, and has the ability to guard all five positions. The 5-foot-8 guard held state-record holder Maddie Hursh to just two points on 1-for-2 shooting from the field in the state semifinals. The lone miss for Hursh resulted in volleyball style block for Harman. She followed that up by flirting with a triple-double in the championship game, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and narrowly missing out on a state-record with 10 steals. Harman finished the season averaging 15 points a night to go along with a team-high 156 steals (4.8 spg) and 206 rebounds (6.4 rpg).

Shelby Roberts, junior - Bolivar: Whoever said good things come in small packages must have been referring to Bolivar’s point guard. Generously listed at 5-foot-6, Roberts harasses opposing guards to spearhead the Class 4 – District 10 champion Lady Liberators defensive attack that held 16 opponents at or below 50 points. Roberts, who finished with 87 steals (3.3 spg), also led Bolivar in scoring with 293 points (10.9 ppg).

Jackie Fugate, senior – Ozark: Blocking shots is much like spiking a volleyball and Fugate is good at both. The Evangel Volleyball signee led the Lady Tigers in rebounds (213/5.8 rpg) as well as blocks (47/1.7 bpg), in addition to her 45 steals. The 5-foot-11 forward was also underrated offensively, scoring nine points a night for the COC-Large champs.

All-#babyfacedassassin (Best Freshmen)

Emma Lander, Crane: The 5-foot-10 forward had a phenomenal season for the Lady Pirates. Lander was a great compliment to McMenamy in the post, finishing second on the team in points (353/ 11.4 ppg) and rebounds (193/ 6.2 rpg). Lander wasn’t afraid of the bright lights in Columbia either, scoring 28 points on 13-for-19 shooting in Crane’s two Final Four games.

Bailey Weaver, Fair Grove: The Lady Eagle’s freshman point guard didn’t disappoint in her inaugural season donning purple. Weaver ran Coach Talbert’s team like a well-oiled machine, getting the aforementioned Kensinger and senior guard DeAmbra Pilkinton the ball when needed. Weaver paced the Fair Grove in assists (74/ 2.6 apg) and steals (61/2.1 spg).

Laura Vierkant, Kickapoo: The 5-foot-6 guard is going to be fun to watch over the next three years. She finished second on the Lady Chiefs in points (335/ 12 ppg) and steals (39/ 1.4 spg). Vierkant, who scored a career-high 26 points against Rolla on Feb. 11, has a knack for scoring; whether its from the foul line (123-for-156), or from 3-point range (41%).

Madison Strong, Gainesville: Strong will have a chance to rewrite the Gainesville record book when all is said and done. The 5-foot-5 guard poured in 488 (19.5 ppg) points for the Lady Bulldogs, also leading the team in rebounds (141/ 5.6 rpg), steals (61/2.4 spg) and 3-pointers made (72). Strong is one of just a handful of area players to shoot at least 40% from deep (44%) and 80% from the line (81%).
Bailey Rezabeck, Camdenton: The 5-foot-5 guard was a key piece in the Lakers resurgence behind a youth movement. Rezabeck was second on the team in scoring, putting in 11.4 points a night to go along with a pair of steals. One of her biggest games came against defensively stout Bolivar where she scored a game-high 18 points to lead Camdenton to the 66-60 win.

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