Posted: Sunday, 18 November 2012 8:55PM

Stockton girls look to continue successful run

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Stockton’s girls marched all the way to the Class 3 State Championship last season after winning it all in 2010-11 before falling to Mt. Vernon 52-48 in the final last season.

The Tigers should be strong again this season with many contributors back, but Stockton will have to replace the All-State Burton twins.

Garrett Burton was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season at 17.3 points per game. Ashli Burton was a defensive stopper for the Tigers and poured 14.3 points per game in her senior year last season.

Sydney Garrett will be leaned heavily upon in her sophomore season. She is a 5’10 guard/forward that averaged 6.5 points per game and led the team in rebounds at 6.5 rebounds per game last season.

She will be looked to more as a guard this season.

“She will need to improve her guard skills because she may be asked to move into that role more this season,” Stockton head coach Kevin Burns said. “We have several post players this season and guard play will be important to our success.”

A couple of those posts include the senior duo of Jolene Shipps and Kelsi Wilkins.

Shipps is a 6’3 center that averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season and was Honorable Mention All-Mid-Lakes last season.

“She will be looked upon to improve on her scoring and rebounding numbers.  She works hard and wants the team to succeed,” Burns said. “She started playing basketball in the seventh grade, so she is always learning, but has the potential to improve quickly with the tools she possesses.”

Wilkins, a 5’10 forward, is back after moving to Arizona last season. She was averaging 5.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Tigers before she moved.

The athletic Emilyn Dearman will be a key defender and returning starter for Stockton.

“Emilyn is a great all-around athlete,” Burns said. “Her athletic ability and quickness allow her to be a great defender.”

Other key returning players will be seniors Bree Burns, Bethany Meeks, Laura Meeks and Allie Spurgeon along with junior Alexis Smith and sophomore Meranda McGowin.

Even with all of the returning players, Burns has tempered his expectations for this season.

“I think we will be down from the past two seasons, but capable of being competitive,” Burns said. “However, we have graduated some strong talent and our new talent is young.”

Some of that new talent will come from a strong freshman class that features Taylor Greenlee, Matilyn Burns, Taylor Ewing and Sarah Spurgeon.

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