By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
As all the time, expectations are excessive for the Kickapoo Girl Chiefs this winter. A program that received a state title in 2016, and completed runner-up in 2018 has a proficient roster once more this winter and must be a drive within the Ozark Convention.
Kickapoo returns three starters and 10 lettermen from final 12 months’s group that completed 18-11 and posted a 6-3 mark in convention play.
“We should outwork our opponents,” famous tenth 12 months coach Jim Pendergrass, who carries a report of 209-74 in his time at Kickapoo. “I want to see this group develop their bodily and psychological toughness. We should be higher on protection at contesting pictures and making it tough for opponents to attain.”
Final 12 months, Kickapoo received its third straight district title, defeating Nixa 57-45 within the championship. A six-point loss (63-57) to Republic within the Class 5 sectionals ended its season.
Gone from final 12 months is Honorable Point out All-Convention and All-District choice Leah Fredrick, who averaged 9.1 factors and a pair of.4 assists final season. She’s now enjoying collegiately on the NAIA stage for Columbia School.
This 12 months, the Girl Chiefs will lean on the play of its many returners, led by seniors Shut Merced and Indya Inexperienced. Merced was a First Staff All-Convention and All-District decide as a sophomore, averaging 5.9 factors per sport. Inexperienced was named First Staff All-Convention, All-District, and All-State after averaging a double-double with 16.4 factors and 11.7 rebounds.
Kickapoo additionally returns seniors Rachel Senn and Madie Barrett, who each can be a drive inside. Senn, a 6-foot-1 ahead, averaged 8.3 factors and 6.8 rebounds final 12 months. Barrett, who stands 6-foot-2, averaged 5.1 factors and three.7 rebounds.
“Rachel has a pleasant capturing contact across the basket and is an efficient rebounder,” Pendergrass mentioned. “Madie is an efficient perimeter shooter and shot blocker.”
Juniors Brooke Turner, Kaylee Corbin, and Bella Fontleroy are additionally again — altho Fontleroy is out with an ACL damage. She averaged 9.6 factors and 5.2 rebounds and was named First Staff All-Convention and All-District as a freshman. Corbin gave Kickapoo 8.2 factors and 5.8 rebounds per sport final 12 months, whereas Turner averaged 2.0 factors and three.7 rebounds.
“Brooke is a gritty participant that makes performs occur,” Pendergrass mentioned. “Kaylee performs exhausting and is an efficient rebounder. Bella is extraordinarily athletic, explosive, and fast. She will be able to play (any) place on the ground.”
Together with a robust group of returners, Kickapoo will search contributions from its checklist of newcomers that features Kyah Johnson, MaKinley McCall, Kaya Goldsby, Ari Mosley, Miya Nieto, Karli Facklam, and Callie Maldoon.
Final 12 months’s Kickapoo group was dominant, outscoring its opponents 59-44 and outrebounding them by 15 per sport.
This 12 months, the Chiefs will search for their fifth convention title within the final six years and fourth consecutive district championship. With a robust group of returners blended with some proficient newcomers, it’s a secure guess that Kickapoo can be within the thick of issues once more this season.