Dec. 5 Girls Basketball Power Rankings

Springfield, Mo. (  -- The O-Zone Power Rankings are compiled by the staff each week based on a team's relative dominance by class.  The school's are not compared head to head, but rather by how strong they are against similar competition as well as current momentum.

1. Republic (2-0)
The Class 4 defending state champs don’t look like they are ready to relinquish that title quite yet. Led by a solid nucleus of Sarah Kruel (C of O volleyball), Alex Botkin (SBU signee) and Alice Heinzler (C of O signee) Republic is poised for another deep postseason run come March. The Lady Tigers defeated Aurora and the defending Class 3 state champion Mount Vernon by an average of 26 points each en route to taking the Aurora Tournament title. Republic is idle until next week when it will host Central and Carl Junction.

2. Walnut Grove (3-1)
The Class 1 runner-ups from last year have unfinished business on their mind after falling by 1 in the state championship game to Eminence. The Lady Tigers bring back three starters from that team including a pair of all-state juniors in cousins Heather and Lexi Harman. Walnut Grove’s average margin of victory of nearly 22 points is made even more impressive when taking into account that they have yet to play a Class 1 team.

3. Marionville (4-1)
The Lady Comets return everyone from last year’s Final Four team, including sensational sophomores Josie Young and Jaycie Dishman. Marionville has gotten off to a great start this year, defeating opponents by an average margin of 26 points. Marionville’s lone blemish came at the hands of Ash Grove (#2 in Class 3) in the championship game of the Ash Grove tournament, 46-40.

4. Ozark (3-1)
The Lady Tigers may be the most talented team in the area, led by Division 1 signee Haylee Beard (Texas-San Antonio) as well as highly touted junior Hannah Cook who is also receiving D-1 interest. Ozark was in the Rogers Tournament last week, taking second place after losing to regionally ranked Greenwood (Ark.) 63-53. Ozark also defeated Glendale on Monday by 54 points. Coach Little’s squad has little time to recover, as they head down to Fort Smith, Arkansas this week to play in the Tournament of Champions.

5. Ash Grove (4-0)
Ash Grove is one of the most experienced teams in the area as they return all five starters, as well as four other lettermen from last year’s team. The Lady Pirates won their tournament last week with an average margin of victory of nearly 22 points per game. Lakin Simmerman and company visit Catholic on Thursday before welcoming Clever into town on Monday.

6. Nixa (3-0)
Two years ago Nixa won just five games. After winning 21 games last season, Coach Middleton’s Lady Eagles are flying high after a quick start to this season. Nixa owns wins over Harrison (Ark.), Waynesville and Mount Vernon by an average margin of nearly 29 points. Nixa, led by All-COC senior guard Jeana Raper, is the top seed in this weekend’s Joplin Tournament, which includes Marshfield, Webb City, Har-Ber (Ark.) and Blue Valley West (Kan.).

7. Dadeville (4-0)
The Lady Bearcats return all five starters from last year’s district runner-up team. Walnut Grove has become a thorn in Dadeville’s side, ending their season in each of the past two seasons. Dadeville is off to a punishing start this season, defeating Niangua, Golden City, School of the Ozarks, and Greenfield by an average of nearly 47 points. Mary Bergmann and Dadeville host Everton on Thursday before visiting Golden City on Tuesday.

8. Webb City (4-0)
Brad Shorter and the Lady Cardinals continue to churn out wins in Webb City. This may be one of his most talented teams, led by Mikaela Burgess and Carthage transfer Desirea Buerge. Webb City walked their way through the Carl Junction Tournament, beating Monett, Carl Junction, and Carthage by an average of 30 points. The road gets tougher for Webb City as they are in the loaded Joplin Tournament this weekend.

9. West Plains (3-0)
Last year West Plains won 23 games before being upset in the district semifinals by a hot Waynesville team. The Lady Zizzers have districts and beyond in mind coming into this season. Led by all-state guard Andi Haney, West Plains has been all business in 2012, defeating Conway, Pleasant Hope, and Fair Grove by an average margin of 28 points en route to the Fair Grove Tournament championship. However, the schedule gets a little tougher next week when the Lady Zizzers take on teams more similar in size with Salem and Jefferson City.

10. Fair Grove (3-1)
Fair Grove boasts one of the top inside-outside duos in seniors Morgan Kensinger and DeAmbra Pilkinton. The Lady Eagles, ranked No. 7 in Class 3, are off to a solid start, beating Clever, Marshfield and Butler by an average margin of 32 points. Fair Grove’s lone defeat came at the hands of West Plains. Fair Grove is idle for the rest of the week before visiting Mount Vernon on Monday.

11. Southwest (Washburn) (3-0)
First year head coach Brad Phillips walked into a gold mine, inheriting a 16-9 team that returns all starters in his first year at Southwest. Led by 6-foot senior forward Taylor Mettlach, the Lady Trojans are off to an unbeaten start, winning the Blue Eye Tournament with an average margin of victory just under 28 points. Southwest hosts McAuley Catholic on Thursday and McDonald County on Monday.

12. Sparta (4-0)
New head coach Mike Plante returns three starters from a 25 win team in his first year at Sparta. The Lady Trojans have gotten off to a great start, winning by an average margin of 25 points. Sparta, Led by all-state sophomore Cailyn Long, will finish the week in the New Covenant Tournament before visiting Hollister on Monday.

13. Chadwick (3-1)
The Lady Cardinals are off to another great start, thanks to returning four starters from last year’s 23 win team.  Chadwick, No. 10 in the Class 1 state rankings, has defeated opponents by an average of 31 points. Chadwick was beaten by Marionville in its season opener by 30. Maddie Hursh and company are idle until Monday when they visit New Covenant in Mark Twain Conference play.

14. Willow Springs  (2-0)
The Lady Bears will have opponents seeing double this season. Willow Springs returns SCA Player of the Year Kyndall Bunch as well as her twin sister Kyra. The Bunch sisters have led Willow Springs to back to back district runner-up finishes. This year, the Lady Bears are hoping to get over the hump and advance to the state tournament. Willow Springs has opened the season with a pair of wins over Conway and Gainesville by 20 and 18 points respectively.  Willow is idle until Friday when they play Dora in the semifinals of the Cabool Tournament.

15. Skyline (4-0)
Despite returning just two starters from last year’s 23 win team, the Lady Tigers have won their first four games of the season by an average of 28 points. Skyline, the Warsaw Tournament champions, will host Warsaw on Thursday before visiting Buffalo on Tuesday.

Knockin’ on the door: Weaubleau (2-0), Marshfield (1-2), Mount Vernon (2-2), Blue Eye (4-1), Branson (3-3)
Results will be released soon.

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