With all the boys teams in the Central Ozark Conference done for the season, the conference released its all-conference honors recently and Neosho senior A.C. Marion found a coveted spot among 18 overall selections.
A honorable mention choice, Marion led Neosho (10-16 overall and district runner-up) in scoring with 14 points per game and he added four rebounds per night. He was consistent scoring the basketball nearly all season — starting with 11 points against Seneca on December 14, Marion reached double-digits in points 18 of his last 19 high school games.
Marion earned all-tournament honors in the Neosho Holiday Classic, thanks to performances like 26 points against Lamar and 31 points against McLain Science & Tech, both career highs. Marion later reached 28 points against Branson in Central Ozark Conference play and that performance came right after his worst night of the season, two points against Carthage.
Neosho reached the district championship game for the first time since 2003, under first year head coach Zane Culp.
Willard junior Daniel Abreu won top player honors and the 6-foot-5 forward made a name for himself when he broke a 28-year-old Blue & Gold scoring record with 125 points in four games over four days. Later in the season, Abreu and Willard ended Ozark’s conference winning streak at 13 games when the Tigers of Willard earned a 69-65 victory over the Tigers of Ozark. Abreu netted 40 points.
Republic head coach Tim Brown guided the Tigers to a 22-7 overall record, a district title, and a perfect 9-0 run through COC competition — Neosho 67-39, Carl Junction 72-38, Branson 61-53, Carthage 58-46, Willard 58-44, Joplin 56-50, Nixa 62-56, Ozark 55-47, and Webb City 64-40. Republic then won close games against Joplin (51-48) and Willard (63-59) at districts.
ALL-CENTRAL OZARK CONFERENCE BOYS BASKETBALL
Daniel Abreu, Willard
Broc Smith, Republic
Trent Smith, Carl Junction
Evan Guillory, Joplin
Terrell Kabala, Webb City
Trey Benard, Branson
A.J. Elliott, Ozark
Alex Gaskill, Webb City
Maurice Grayer, Willard
Drew Mcmillan, Republic
Luke Roemen, Nixa
Zach Westmoreland, Joplin
Alex Martini, Carthage
Parker Ramsdell, Ozark
Race Looney, Republic
A.C. Marion, Neosho
Ace Akers, Nixa
Isaiah Davis, Joplin
Player of the Year: Daniel Abreu, Willard
Coach of the Year: Tim Brown, Republic