By Chris Parker
Expectations are high for Stockton girls basketball. The Tigers were the district runner-up to Skyline in Class 3 District 13 finishing with a 12-11 record overall.
This year, Stockton begins play as a part of the Southwest Conference with the core group from last year’s team returning.
Jenna Rickman was the lone senior on last year’s team. She earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
Junior Summer Kenney returns as a team leader. She earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore on the strength of her 12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game.
“(She is an) established leader for us on both ends of the floor. We expect to run a lot of our sets through her,” Stockton head coach Mike Kenney said.
Abby Flora returns as the starting point guard in her senior season. She averaged 3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game last year.
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“(She is) our returning point guard. One of our leaders on the floor. (She) brings a good sense of the game to the floor. Looking for her to have a big year,” Kenney said.
Senior Kara Hedrick and junior Kylie Hunter round out the returning starters. Both bring back some scoring punch with Hedrick averaging 6.4 ppg and Hunter averaging 7.7 points per game last year.
“(Hedrick) had a very solid season last year. (She is a) hard-nosed player that can help us on both ends,” Kenney said. “(Hunter) fought through some injuries early last season. She helps set the tone for us defensively and brings added scoring to us.”
Junior Jayla Thornton and sophomores Ellie Flora and Faith King round out the returning players. Thornton brings a physical presences to the post. Flora is a versatile player that will give Stockton flexibility on both ends. King is a strong pressure defender.
Senior Abi Wanbough and junior Tristen Henson will be newcomers to watch.
“We are expecting to compete nightly,” Kenney said. “We hope to build off our recent success and the excitement of being in a district championship game last year. Bringing back a lot of our core group will allow us to be more prepared in the beginning. We will get after you defensively and hope to set the tone for a hard fought, physical game each night. We will have a lot of questions to answer as the season unfolds, but we plan on being in a position to have a say in our conference and district play. This is group will answer the bell, they love to compete.”
Stockton will travel to Lamar for a jamboree on Nov. 16 with the host Tigers, El Dorado Springs and Butler.
Stockton opens the regular season Nov. 22-24 at the Fair Play Tournament.