The Parkview Lady Vikings head into the 2016-17 basketball season looking to climb the ladder in the Ozark Conference after finished second-to-last in the OC a year ago, ahead of only Joplin.
The Lady Vikings went 5-21 and averaged 38.3 points per game while allowing 54.2 points per game to opponents last year. But with the development of sophomore standout guard Paiton Acord, those numbers should improve.
As a freshman last year, Acord led the team in points per game (11.8), rebounds per game (8.3) and assists per game (2.8) and is the leading returner in steals per game as well (1.5).
“Paiton has a very high basketball IQ so she is always putting herself in a position to be successful,” said head coach Keri Nichols.
Despite posting a team-high 296 points, Acord shot 0-2 from three-point range last season. She has worked on her outside shot this summer though, according to Coach Nichols.
“Now that [Acord] has more experience under her belt, I expect her performance to become a little more consistent from game to game,” Nichols said.
Parkview graduated three seniors from last year’s team (Aaliyah Buckley, Bethany Harris and Kara Klein) and will miss their contributions, as they each played in every game for the Lady Vikings last year.
Buckley was a second team All-OC selection last year. Parkview will have to fill that void.
“I think what we will miss the most [about Buckley] is her versatility,” said Nichols. “She was able to run all five positons on the floor which really gave us more options with the young kids and substitutions.”
Speaking of young kids, Parkview played a lot of them last year. Acord was one of three freshmen to log heavy minutes on last year’s varsity squad along with CJ Stiles and Kristen Klein. The six-foot Stiles led the team with 1.4 blocks per game.
Underclassmen could be in a position to contribute heavily to the varsity again this year, including incoming freshmen and former JV players. Nichols likes what she’s seen from her young players this offseason.
“Our freshman class put in a ton of time this summer and I would not be surprised if a few of them might see a little of varsity time.”
Parkview won their opening district game last year 53-34 over Springfield Central before losing to Kickapoo 71-28 in the semifinals. The development of their young players could signal a turnaround for the Lady Vikings.
“I think we should pick up where we left off last year,” Nichols said. “The learning curve should not be as big but we are still depending on freshman and sophomores to be impact players so we could be inconsistent at times.”