Kanah Burkey, East Newton
Burkey averaged 13.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals before her season was ended with concussion issues. She netted a season-high 32 points against Diamond and scored in double figures in 13 of her last 14 games. Her season-high 10 rebounds against Mount Vernon, coupled with her 16 points, gave her a double-double.

Kortney Cambers, East Newton
Cambers averaged 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists. She went for a season-high 20 points in the 60-56 overtime win over Neosho, highlighted by four 3-point shots. Cambers made a season-high five 3-point shots against Big 8 conference champion and still alive Class 4 state qualifier Carl Junction and finished the season with 36 overall trifectas.
Cambers and her fellow backcourt mate Emily Sorrell played for three district titles, and the Lady Patriots finished second every season.
“Kortney and Emily played varsity for three years,” East Newton head coach Erin Rice said. “Getting second (at districts) all three of those years, it’s hard to explain to a kid that you won’t always be second, because to them they are always second when it comes to basketball. It was really hard for them to come out of the locker room, knowing that it was over. You just never know what to say in those types of situations, except for give them a big ol’ hug, say that you’re proud and that everything’s going to be OK.”

Koty Cooper, East Newton
Cooper came on even stronger at the end of her junior season, scoring in double figures her final nine games, highlighted by 31 points against Butler and 26 against Lamar in the Class 3, District 12 tournament in Stockton. Cooper went for 26 points in the first half alone against Butler.
“When you’re that much bigger than the other team,” Rice said, “it’s easy to score and her teammates did an awesome job of making sure they gave it to her at the right time. She was on the first half, for sure. It helped that I don’t think she took a single jump shot in the first half. They were all within two feet of the bucket. If we can continue to do that, we’re going to be in good shape.”
Overall, her junior season, Cooper averaged 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.5 blocked shots en route to earning all-Big 8 first team.
Cooper scored in double figures in 25 of the Lady Patriots’ 28 games. All seven of her 20-point nights came in the new year. She reached 1,000 career points in the district semifinal win over Lamar.
Cooper proved to be a player capable of a triple-double, if she put all phases of her game together on a night. She grabbed 15 rebounds against Cassville, dished out nine assists against Neosho and had six steals against Diamond. All told, Cooper finished with seven double-doubles.
East Newton finished 9-2 over its final 11 games, its final loss 36-32 in the district finals against El Dorado Springs.

Maranda Cooper, Seneca
Over a 10-game segment of the season, Cooper averaged 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 steals. She netted 22 points and eight rebounds against Joplin and 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals against Carthage.
In the Neosho Holiday Classic, Cooper scored 21 points against Forrest City and had eight points against Carthage. She averaged 11 points per game in the tourney, good for sixth overall.

Kirsten Eden, Diamond
Eden nearly finished with a double-double (14 points and eight rebounds) in a 50-43 win over Cassville and had 13 points each in games against East Newton and Golden City.
Along with fellow senior Seward, Eden was one of the key leaders for head coach Ashley Ohlman.
“Kirsten Eden is another one that’s our main post on the inside,” Ohlman said in early December. “She really has to work hard playing defense and she’s one that we really need in the game.”

Caitlyn Jordon, Neosho
Jordon averaged 16 points and earned an all-tournament selection in the Holiday Classic. Jordon ranked only behind Carthage’s Kenya Medlock in scoring. She made 7 of her 16 3-point attempts (43.8 percent) in the tourney and ranked fifth in steals with 1.7 per game.
In a 39-35 Central Ozark Conference Large loss at home to Ozark, Jordon scored a game-high 20 points, with 10 points wearing her nominal No. 22 and 10 wearing No. 14 in the first half.
“Caitlyn Jordon’s going to be a very nice player,” Neosho head coach Grant Berendt said. “She already is. I’ve got to get Caitlyn Jordon to buy into that every single day. Our kids know that she’s going to be very good, but she’s not the only one.”
Jordon scored 24 points in a 69-66 win over East Newton in Joplin.
Jordon was one of three sophomore starters on a young Neosho squad, joined by Makayla Hayes and Allison Burr, and with Brooke Stauffer out of the lineup for much of the season, Ashley Talley made it four sophomores in the starting five. Fellow sophomores Laken Schnackenberg, Tori Frazier and Emilee Anderson each played key roles for the Lady Wildcats.

Sydney Linny, Neosho
For the majority of the season, Linny was Neosho’s veteran player, flanked by four sophomores in the starting lineup. Linny averaged nine points in the Holiday Classic.
Linny scored 21 points in a COC Large loss to Nixa and 14 points against Eugene.

Baili Nelson, McDonald County
In the Lady Mustangs’ lone Big 8 Conference win this season, Nelson scored 12 points against Monett.
Nelson’s highlight her senior year might have been winning the girls’ 3-point competition at the Holiday Classic, edging defending champion and St. Joseph Lafayette junior forward Ashlyn Dotson 6-5 in the finals. Nelson made 12 in the first round, second behind Dotson’s 13. In the co-ed finals, Springdale Har-Ber junior sharpshooter Matthew Kaunitz prevailed 14-8 over Nelson.
Nelson and Dakota Bunch were the lone seniors.
“We want to be playing our best basketball late in the season,” McDonald County head coach Blake Short said in December. “This is a young group. We still have two or three seniors, but this group has really never played together. We have two girls that played varsity last year … period. They’re having to play out of position, so we’re learning and hopefully from Christmas and then on, we can be playing our best basketball going into districts.”

Macie Seward, Diamond
Seward had 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal in a 60-42 win over Golden City. She had 19 and 17 points in losses against Liberal and East Newton. She scored 22 points in a home tournament win over Lockwood, highlighted by 16 points in the first half.
“Macie Seward is the girl that we go to,” Ohlman said. “She has great senior leadership.”

Emily Sorrell, East Newton
Sorrell averaged 6.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists during her senior campaign and she had a season-high 17 points against Lamar. In a district tourney win over Butler, Sorrell had nine points, three rebounds, four assists and five steals, a performance perhaps overshadowed by Cooper’s offensive eruption.
Along with sophomore Kinsey Sorrell and senior Cambers, Emily Sorrell played a key defensive role against Aurora’s Larissa Pyle-Moore in the championship game of the Seneca tournament, a 49-35 win for the Lady Patriots.
“We decided that we were going to face guard the Moore kid,” East Newton head coach Erin Rice said, “and limit her touches as much as we can. We went to a box-and-1 and clogged up the middle, which is where she likes to go. It just happened that it worked out.
“We went Emily Sorrell, Kortney Cambers and Kinsey Sorrell. All three of them took turns, because I knew that she (Pyle-Moore) would wear herself out trying to get open. It was really important not to wear ourselves out guarding her that way, so every possession, somebody else had her switching on and off.”

Brooke Stauffer, Neosho
Stauffer, Neosho’s lone senior starter and one of two seniors (along with Kim Bohnert) on the roster, missed 12 games during the Lady Wildcats’ 26-game season, out from mid-December through early February. Stauffer made a late appearance in Neosho’s 48-26 win over McDonald County on Jan. 29, earning a personal foul during her brief time on the floor.
“She’s starting to find her groove again,” Berendt said after Neosho’s 48-37 win over Carthage on senior night. “When you come off an injury like she did, six weeks, it’s kind of like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to do it, but the timing’s off. We’ve changed a few things since she’s been gone and come back, set wise and personnel wise. Those are the things that she’s going to get with more playing time. She plays her tail off, she plays hard and she gives me everything she has all the time. I think all our kids do that and Brooke has set a precedent for what our program’s all about as a senior by doing that on every possession, even when it’s not her night offensively.”
Stauffer scored 15 points in that win over Carthage. In the opening game of the season, Stauffer had 21 points in the win over Seneca.

Elena Wood, Seneca
Over a 10-game segment of the season, Wood averaged 15.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Wood scored 24 points in the season-opening loss to Neosho and had 19 against McDonald County, 17 against Diamond and 16 each against Joplin and East Newton. Wood made 30 3-point shots over that 10-game stretch, highlighted by two nights of five treys, including a second effort against Nevada.
Wood averaged 12 points in the three games of the Holiday Classic, highlighted by 23 points and seven assists against Forrest City and 11 points and 11 rebounds against Carthage. Wood ended fifth in scoring, fifth in 3-point field goals made (five), first in free throws made (11) and third in assists (4.7 per game).
In that 24-point performance against Neosho, Wood scored 17 of her points in the first half, highlighted by 11 in the second quarter.
“She’s really developed,” Berendt said. “We knew she was very athletic and she took the ball to the rim very well. We knew she was capable of hitting threes, but not like that. She’s obviously put in some time in the gym and got to where that’s a key part of her game. Not until the second half did we figure out what angles to try and take away from her.”

ALL-DAILY NEWS GIRLS TEAM
Kanah Burkey, East Newton
Kortney Cambers, East Newton
Koty Cooper, East Newton
Maranda Cooper, Seneca
Kirsten Eden, Diamond
Caitlyn Jordon, Neosho
Sydney Linny, Neosho
Baili Nelson, McDonald County
Macie Seward, Diamond
Emily Sorrell, East Newton
Brooke Stauffer, Neosho
Elena Wood, Seneca