By Chris Parker
Fair Grove girls basketball posted an overall record of 12-14 last year, which was the first time the Eagles finished a season below .500 since 2014.
They will look to get back on the other side of the .500 mark this year with senior leading scorer Brooklyn Luna returning. Luna, who has committed to play basketball at Missouri Valley, earned first-team all-conference honors last year after scoring 15.5 points per game while also leading the team in assists (4.5 apg) and steals (2.8 spg). She enters her third season as the team’s starting point guard.
“We are expecting her (Luna) to really step up this season and be one of our main leaders. We know she is capable of scoring and distributing the ball, but we have really challenged her to be a top defender and vocal leader for our team. I know she is determined to make her senior year the best one yet. I think like most seniors she is ready to leave it all out there on the court each day,” Fair Grove head coach Jenny Talbert said. “Brooklyn has the most varsity experience of anyone on our team. She has started at point guard since her sophomore year. Her role has changed a little each year with her taking on more and more responsibility on each end of the floor. As a sophomore she was more of a distributor, last year she was a main scorer and this year she will be a main scorer and defender.”
Sophomore Kameron Green earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a freshman after she put up 10.2 points per game to go with a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game.
“Kameron has great size and speed. She stepped up big for us in the lane. Adjusting to the speed and physicality of varsity basketball was a tough learning curve at the start, but she did a great job of figuring things out and becoming quite a force for us. She is a quick learner and likes to compete,” Talbert said. “I think the year of varsity basketball last season gave her so much experience and that will help her tremendously as we head into this season. She has gotten stronger and improved in many areas as well. We expect her to be an impact player in the lane on both ends of the court, and also think she will be able to showcase some of her skills outside the lane; improved ball handling and shooting.”
Lauren Kennard gives Fair Grove three returning starters. She played in all 26 varsity games with averages of 4.3 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game.
“Lauren gained valuable experience last year playing varsity for her first time. She is a great teammate and always works hard,” Talbert said. “Lauren plays some guard and some forward for us. She worked on her outside shooting and we have challenged her to really get out and run the floor. We feel that she can do some things in transition to help us out. Lauren will continue to be one of our main rebounders and defensive stoppers. I’m looking forward to seeing her really excel her senior year.”
Bradi Weaver (5’6 junior guard), Savanna Luna (5’4 sophomore guard), Lauren Thomlinson (5’8 sophomore guard), Jaelah McDannald (5’5 sophomore guard) and Allison Findley (5’4 freshman guard) are all candidates to play a role on varsity. There are other freshmen who could step up as well.
“From what we worked on over the summer we plan to be a high-paced high-energy team. We will try to get teams playing faster than they want to play. We plan to guard hard and make teams really work for their points,” Talbert said. “I expect us to always compete in every game. I want us to be a team known for playing hard and gritty. I want us to improve with every practice and with every game.”
Fair Grove opens the season on Nov. 24 at home against Mountain Grove.