By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Kickapoo Lady Chiefs rode an impressive 24-game winning streak all the way to the Class 6 final four last season, bringing home a third-place finish.
That squad, which finished 27-3 overall and 9-0 in the Ozark Conference, was led by Class 6 Player of the Year, Indya Green, who became Kickapoo’s all-time leading scorer with 1,764 points and is now playing at Moberly Area Community College. Green averaged a double-double (20 points, 12.3 rebounds per game) and was named the OC Player of the Year and Class 6 All-District 12.
Also lost to graduation are Rachel Senn (9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 assists), who earned all-district, all-conference and all-conference academic honors, as well as Madi Barrett (5.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Senn is now playing at William Jewell College.
While the Lady Chiefs lose a lot of size with the graduation of Green (5-foot-11), Senn (6-1) and Barrett (6-2), they return a great deal of varsity experience highlighted by 4-star Baylor commit Ysabella Fontleroy.
The 6-2 senior averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season, while earning all-state, all-district and all-conference first-team honors.
“Bella is extremely athletic, explosive and quick, and can play the 1-5 position on the floor,” said Jim Pendergrass, who enters his 12th season as Kickapoo’s head coach.
Fontleroy is ranked No. 40 by ESPN for the Class of 2022 and has made official visits to Arizona, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Baylor and Texas Tech before committing to Baylor.
Other key returnees for the 2021-22 Lady Chiefs are Kaya Goldsby, Brooke Turner, Kya Johnson, Miya Nieto, Karli Facklam, Ari Mosley and Callie Maldoon.
• Kaya Goldsby, 5-7 senior – All-district selection, all-conference honorable mention; averaged 10.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.5 steals. “Athletic and quick; really good defender,” Pendergrass said.
• Brooke Turner, 5-10 senior – 3.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.3 spg. “Gritty player; good defender; makes plays happen.”
• Kya Johnson, 5-6 sophomore – All-OC defensive team; 5.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.8 spg. “Good court awareness; great defender; smart player.”
• Miya Nieto, 5-6 junior – 2.4 ppg, .5 rpg. “Good shooter; smart player.”
• Karli Facklam, 5-6 junior – .9 ppg, 1.3 rpg. “Good defender; aggressive player.”
• Ari Mosley, 5-3 sophomore, 1.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg. “Quick, athletic, fast.”
• Callie Maldoon, junior guard/post, 1.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg.
“I love this group,” said Pendergrass, who was named Class 6 District 12 and Ozark Conference Coach of the Year last season. “They are hard-working and want to please our coaches. We must be committed to using our individual strengths to make the team as successful. Our team must be better than our opponents at contesting shots and rebounding.”
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Newcomers looking to compete for varsity minutes include Mikayla Smith, 5-6 freshman; Mikayla Pilley, 5-8 freshman; Allison Scott, 6-0 freshman; Delainey Wylie, 6-0 junior; and Raigan Smith, 5-6 sophomore.
The Lady Chiefs will participate in a jamboree at Logan-Rogersville on Nov. 15 before opening the 2021-22 season at home against Carthage on Nov. 19.
“Our schedule is filled with tough opponents that will give us an opportunity to grow and get better as a team,” Pendergrass said. “We have the opportunity with our schedule to play some great opponents. These are the teams we will have to beat to achieve postseason success.”