By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Basketball season is underway in Missouri. Below are the Class 4 Girls Basketball Players to Watch along with a breakout player.
NOTE: MSHSAA won’t be releasing new class and district assignments until Friday, Dec. 11. WE ARE USING LAST YEAR’S CLASSIFICATIONS for our watchlists. There will be SIGNIFICANT changes to classes when the new assignements come out, as Missouri is adding a sixth class of basketball this year.
• Lexi Berry, Bolivar Senior
Berry continues to be one of the most productive guards in the area, averaging 18.9 points, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals as a junior. She was an All-District selection for the Liberators in what was her third year of varsity action. Bolivar has more options around Berry, which could make her even more difficult to defend.
• MacKenzie Brunson, West Plains Senior
In a conference that has multiple Division One prospects, it was Brunson that took home Ozark Conference Player of the Year honors. The two-time All-State pick averaged 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for West Plains, emerging as one of the most productive two-way players in Missouri. She’s a four-year starter.
• Destiny Buerge, Carl Junction Sophomore
Her freshman year she played Robin to Katie Scott’s Batman, averaging 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 steals for the 28-0 Lady Bulldogs. She was especially good late, scoring a season-high 23 points in a quarterfinal win over Sullivan. With Scott gone, expect Buerge to become the focal point of a team that plays even faster.
• Kori Cromer, Marshfield Junior
Marshfield nearly doubled its win total over the last two seasons and Cromer was at the center of why. The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 12 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Jays, also being named All-Big 8 and All-District. She’s a big-time shooter with a high IQ and great feel for the game.
• Jimm’esha Davis, Hillcrest Junior
Her sophomore season was nothing short of impressive, with the 5-foot-11 forward averaging a double-double (13.2 points and 11.2 rebounds). She earned All-Ozark Conference and All-District honors. She’s also Hillcrest’s returning leader in steals. Her athleticism will again set the tone for the Lady Hornets.
• Jaydee Duda, Webb City Senior
Duda is one of the top defensive guards in the Ozarks, averaging 14 points and four steals as a junior. Her motor never stops running, part of the reason she earned All-COC and All-District honors a year ago. Duda and the Lady Cardinals will look to end the program’s district drought.
• Olivia Hixson, Neosho Senior
One of the top shooters in the area, Hixson has knocked down at least 50 3-point FG in each of the last two seasons. As a junior she averaged 10 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals, earning her an Honorable Mention All-COC and All-District nod.
• Sierra Kimbrough, Webb City Senior
The 5-foot-3 lefty guard was named to the All-District team behind her eight points, three assists and three steals per game average. She’s another elite defender, especially on the ball, which had been the catalyst behind her several NAIA and JUCO offers.
Others to Watch
• Savannah Campbell, Rolla Junior
• Tylin Heathman, Nevada Senior
• Bella Jadwin & Savannah Manthey, Salem Junior & Sophomore
• Ashton Judd, West Plains Junior
• Gracie Kibby, Rogersville Junior
• Payton Kincaid, Camdenton Junior
• Kristin Penn, McDonald County Senior
• Jade Watson, Reeds Spring Junior
• Trinity Williamson, Bolivar Senior
Breakout Player: Kylie Scott, Carl Junction Freshman
Yes, Carl Junction has another Scott sister and yes, she has the potential to be every bit as good as the first two. The 6-foot-1 freshman is a long, athletic forward that will give CJ the opportunity to again have an elite paint presence. She may not score as much as her sisters did early on, but expect her to be a game-changer defensively.