Four seniors and a freshman phenom make up this season’s American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball team.
Five players are named to the first team and 12 additional standouts are named second team ALL-USA Ozarks players. This year’s first team consists of seniors Laura Vierkant of Kickapoo, Brooke Stanfield of Republic, Lexie Vaught of Crane and Kaycee Gerald of Hillcrest. Strafford freshman Hayley Frank rounds out the first five.
The ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball teams are selected by the News-Leader staff based on a set of criteria that includes a player’s value to her team, statistical production, success in high-pressure games, leadership, sportsmanship and the overall betterment of basketball in the Ozarks. A player’s value to her team is given the greatest amount of consideration.
The ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball teams are not designed to serve as a prospect ranker or to debate one player’s basketball abilities over another player’s.
ALL-USA Ozarks players will be invited to attend the SW Missouri Sports Awards presented by the Springfield News-Leader on Thursday, June 9. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow will be the keynote speaker for the event at the Springfield Expo Center that honors some of the top sports performances of the year.
American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball first team 2016
Kickapoo senior guard
Two-time all-state selection Laura Vierkant scored an average of 13.4 points per game in her senior season. In her final game, she made 12 of 14 free throw attempts and Kickapoo defeated Kirkwood 63-53 to capture the Class 5 state championship at the Show Me Showdown in Columbia. Vierkant was a floor leader and a facilitator for a Kickapoo team that relied on a mix of veteran players and underclassmen. She will continue her basketball career at NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist University.
Crane senior guard
Vaught played in 123 wins against just seven losses in her four seasons with the four-time reigning and defending Class 2 state champion Pirates. The Drury basketball signee scored an average of 15.6 points per game and led Crane in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game. In her fourth and final state championship appearance, Vaught solidified herself as one of the state’s top guards with a triple double: 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Hillcrest senior guard
Yet another two-time all-state selection from the Springfield area, Gerald led Hillcrest to a second consecutive district championship by scoring 20 points per game. She demonstrated her evolution into a more complete player by grabbing 5.6 rebounds and dishing out 4.2 assists per game. Coach Jeni Hopkins referred to the speedy guard with slick ball-handling ability as a “one woman press break.” The Springfield Court Talk 2016 MVP is committed to play basketball at William Woods University.
Republic senior forward
The two-time co-MVP of the Central Ozarks Conference led Republic with 15.5 points per game. Coach Kris Flood called Stanfield “one of the best athletes to come through Republic girls basketball.” Stanfield made 56 percent of her field goal attempts as Republic maintained the No. 1 spot in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 state rankings for much of the season. Stanfield is signed with NCAA Division II Drury University to play basketball and compete in track and field in jumping events.
Strafford senior forward
The 6-foot-1 forward with the dribbling and passing skills of a guard scored 619 points, an average of just less that 20 per game, in her freshman season. Playing for her dad, coach Steve Frank, and alongside her twin sister Kayley, Hayley Frank led 30-3 Strafford in scoring all the way to a Class 3 state championship. Frank averaged a double-double with 11.3 rebounds per game.
American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball second team 2016
Abby Oliver, Strafford
Jordan Sanders, Kickapoo
Jordan Kabetske, Republic
Bayley Harman, Walnut Grove
Kaylee DaMitz, Skyline
Kylee Moore, Crane
Kaylie Rothdiener, Bolivar
Taylor Faulkner, Buffalo
Bailey Weaver, Fair Grove
Raylie Hejna, Walnut Grove
Emily Parker, Aurora
Amanda Kearney, Branson