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53 days until tipoff and now our eyes shift towards the season. I have always preached that the best Basketball in Missouri. The Final 4 ended last season with four teams on the Boys side; Bolivar, Hartville, Norwood, and Kickapoo. Of those four Hartville and Kickapoo emerged state champions. The Girls side was even more successful in terms of getting teams to the final four. Kickapoo, West Plains, Mt. Vernon, Skyline, Blue Eye, and Walnut Grove all finished either 2nd or 3rd in their class This year the area is reloading with talent to try to outdo the fantastic year last year. To lead up to the start of the season we will be featuring one of the top boys and one of the top girls everyday until November 30th when the season starts.
Kai Brown 2022 Mt. Vernon 6’0
Kai has had a fantastic summer and he looks to build on a successful season a year ago. The Mt’neers will be replacing several key pieces including leading scorer Mason Ballay. Kai is a traditional point guard but possesses the ability to be a very good scorer. He is lethal behind the three point line but his speed and athleticism lets him drive to the bucket with ease. Where Brown is most deadly is drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. He a fantastic free throw shooter and makes opponents pay for giving him free ones. He is a fantastic ball handler and distributes the ball well. With the weapons that the Mt’neers lost Brown has the opportunity to take a massive jump this year.
Kendall Scott 2023 Golden City 5’3
Kendall is a prototypical point guard. She is very smart with the ball and rarely turns the ball over. She looks for the open man almost to a detriment as she also excels at putting the ball in the hoop. She led the Lady Eagles in Points, Assists and Steals per game a year ago. She is aggressive going to the hoop getting the majority of her points off the dribble and at the free throw line. She isn’t the tallest on the court but her heart and hustle leads her to finding rebounds often. Enough to find her #3 on the team on corralling rebounds. Scott and the Lady Eagles look to build on a 16-9 year where they finished the district runners up to Walnut Grove.
“More than being a very talented basketball player and a very good student, Kyndall is a great kid. She’s quiet and a bit shy at times, but she is very outgoing and involved in a number of groups at school. She balances all of them with being a top athlete in Volleyball, Basketball, and Softball and does so without a word of complaint. She’s willing to help out the school, teachers, and students without hesitation.
On the floor, Kyndall lets her playing do the talking. She’s not showy but certainly could be, which again speaks to her character. She’s willing to run through a wall if you ask her to and do so without complaint. We have had to ask her to be a little more “selfish” and look to score more because wants to make sure her teammates are involved in the game as much as she is. She is a leader without saying a word which makes the time she does speak up in the locker room or practice all the more meaningful to the team. And just like in the classroom, she’s willing to take on any role she’s asked and is one of the most coachable players I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.
Statistically speaking, she led the team last year in points (15.8), assists (3.5), and steals (2.4). She was also third in the team in rebounding (3.8) despite being our lead ball handler, which speaks to her toughness. Because she has the ball in her hands a lot and prefers to drive, she takes a beating every night. We get box and one’d a lot and our opponents focus on being physical with her to try and wear her down. Despite being knocked down every drive and bumped all the way down the floor gets up ready for the next play and I’ve never seen her give a ref a cross look in her life. It’s a rare thing to see the combination of an extremely high character person and an extremely talented athlete.”
Golden City Lady Eagles Coach Derek Judd