As football churns into the latter stages of the postseason, area hoopsters will hard the hardwood competitively for the first time in the coming days.
Five area teams placed in the top four at state a season ago, with the Jefferson boys claiming the lone championship in Class 1. The The Stanberry and Mid-Buchanan girls settle for second-place finishes, while the Trenton girls and Plattsburg boys competing in the third-place games.
Jefferson will stake its claim beginning as an entirely new program under Tim Jermain as the Platte Valley athletics, combining with South Nodaway. Chase Farnan returns as a senior among the best players in Missouri, scoring 30 points in the state title-clinching game. Farnan and Clayton Merrigan were both all-state a season ago.
The Plattsburg boys graduated a group led by Garrett Stephens, though Simon Morefield returns a core Isaiah Graham and Austin Stevens.
Stanberry graduated a pair of all-state honorees in Lily Osborn and Madi Sager, while a young crop will take over for all-state forward Jaele Barber and a large graduated group for Mid-Buchanan. The same will ring true for a new era of Trenton girls basketball after the graduation of a decorated group of seniors.
More of Kilgore
At 6-foot-6, East Buchanan senior Ethan Kilgore already flies higher than most in Missouri. He now has weight off his shoulders from his signing to Division-I Idaho and entered Friday’s season opener with Trenton with 1,796 career points. He averaged 24.8 points while shooting better than 50% with 12 rebounds per game a season ago.
Looking to the future
Numerous new faces were on display when four of the five city schools took to the hardwood for the jamboree Friday.
While Benton ushers in a new era that wasn’t around for their 2016 state title, the likes of Kianna Herrera and Jaida Cox showed they’re ready to lead a new group on the South Side. Their midtown rivals in Central claimed the city crown and have a real chance at a district title shot behind senior Ella Moody, junior Lauren Eiman and a host of other Indians.
The Benton boys showed impressive flash led by Chol Ater, enough to stymie a Kolten Griffen-led North Side team. With Central led by AJ Redman, city matches figure to be ultra competitive this season.
At St. Joseph Christian, the Lions boys will take the floor for the first time under Neal Hook after a lengthy career at Central.
A talented group of small class teams will look to all-state returns to carry the load.
In Class 1, Mound City sophomore Tony Osburn and Southwest Livingston senior Mack Anderson are back from all-state selections.
Worth County all-state honoree Anna Gladstone is back for her senior year, as is East Atchison’s Jaycee Graves and Hamilton’s Nora Ford.
Other players to watch
Boys: Christian Scaggs, Mid-Buchanan; Tate Oglesby, Maryville; Ryan Cook, Hamilton; Owen Fortney, East Buchanan; Brayden Luikart, Lafayette; Kason Mauzey, Benton; Westley Brandsgaard, Chillicothe; Landon Poppa, Mound City; Braden Berry, Savannah.
Girls: Serena Sundell, Maryville; Maci Moore, Trenton; Gracie Kelsey, East Buchanan; Grace Stites, Savannah; Lanie Joseph, Cameron; Audrey Elifrits, East Buchanan; McKenzie Brockhoff, North Platte; Graycen Prothero, Hamilton; Kelsey Stout, Mid-Buchanan; Jasmine Taylor, Braymer; Regan Allee, Worth County; Brooklynn Miller, St. Joseph Christian.