By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Three straight state championships. An 82-game winning streak.
And this could be their best team yet.
Strafford enters the 2018-19 with its usual high expectations. The Lady Indians, preaching a team-first style, are one of the state’s premier programs.
“The past three years the goal was the same, and the results showed,” said Strafford coach Steve Frank. “It doesn’t matter who scores, who gets more minutes, who starts or comes off the bench. These kids understand that unity is the key, and balance.”
Strafford’s led by a stacked six-player senior class, four of which are returning starters.
Senior Hayley Frank is one of the top players in the state. The three-time all-state selection averaged 24.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 4.1 steals per game last season.
Few players are as efficient as Hayley; she shot 92 percent from the free throw line, 78 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range last season.
The 6’1” forward, who was Class 3 Player of the Year and Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018, has committed to play at Mizzou.
“She can play all spots on the floor, making her a tough matchup,” Steve Frank said. “She understands how important balance is for success and involves all her team around her.”
Twin sister Kayley Frank is the team’s blue-collar workhorse. She averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals per game in earning all-state honors last season. Kayley, who’s committed to play at College of the Ozarks, shot 53 percent from the field and 45 percent on 3-point attempts.
“She’s the player who’s on the floor, crashing the boards, guarding the other team’s best player; doing all the little things that don’t get the press but make your team click,” Steve Frank said. “Kayley can play all five spots on the floor and also poses matchup issues for other teams.”
Maddie Chittenden gives Strafford a third returning starter who averaged double-digit scoring last season. Chittenden averaged 12.4 points, four rebounds, 2.7 assists and two steals per game.
Chittenden became Strafford’s defensive specialist last season, often guarding the other team’s best scorer.
Senior point guard Kyndall Compton runs the show.
“She’s our playmaker out front,” Steve Frank said. “She is very quick and guards very well.”
The Lady Indians have boosted their schedule this season with matchups against Whitfield (rematch of the 2018 Class 3 state semifinals), Lincoln Prep, Helias Catholic and a trip to St. Louis to play Lutheran North, Lutheran South and Ladue.
“This will test us and make our team have to step up mentally and physically and bring our A-game every night,” Steve Frank said.