State dynasties and high-level recruits make up the greatness that is girls basketball in southeast Missouri.
The News-Leader is introducing the “Dominant Dozen” for both boys and girls basketball. The Diamond Dozen will serve in place of our preseason and postseason teams as we honor the best players in the area.
This list will be different by the end of the year as players break out and become among the area’s elite. We will publish watchlists throughout the winter before naming the 2020-21 Diamond Dozen at the end of the season.
Our preseason Dominant Dozen for girls basketball follows:
Faith Gilkey, Walnut Grove
The two-time defending Class 1 Player of the Year will return for her senior season.
Faith Gilkey, a Southwest Baptist commit, will look to lead the Lady Tigers to their third-straight state title.
Every time Gilkey steps on the floor, it’s a show. She put up an average of 28 points and six rebounds per game a year ago — an improvement from her 21.6 points and 8.1 rebound average from her sophomore year.
Makaiya Brooks, Central
One of the great players to come through Springfield Public Schools will play her senior season this year at Central.
Makaiya Brooks is a 5-foot-8 guard who recently signed with Memphis. During her career, she’s averaged 24.9 points, 1.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. She dropped a career-high 37 points during her junior year.
In her three seasons, she’s already recorded more than 1,600 points and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. She is a three-time all-district selection and was selected All-State last season.
Bella Fontleroy, Kickapoo
After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Kickapoo junior Bella Fontleroy will return for her junior year.
Fontleroy is one of the best high school prospects in the country. The 6-foot-1 wing is the No. 12 overall player and No. 2 at her position in the Class of 2022.
The daughter of Missouri State great William Fontleroy averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds as a freshman and was an All-Ozark Conference selection her freshman year.
Lacy Stokes, Mount Vernon
The reigning Big 8 East Player of the Year will return to an experienced Mount Vernon team that should be among the area’s best.
Lacy Stokes was a Class 3 all-state performer while averaging 22.9 points, 6.4 boards, 4.1 assists and 4.5 steals per game.
Stokes is committed to Missouri Southern for next season.
Anna Hitt, Ozark
Ozark 5-foot-10 guard Anna Hitt is one of the better athletes in all of southwest Missouri and she’s returning for her senior year.
Hitt, a Drury signee, helped lead the Tigers to a 22-7 record and a district title as a junior. She is a multi-sport athlete and is a multi-time state medalist in track and field.
She should have Ozark in contention to be one of the best teams in the area yet again.
Khloe Moad, Ash Grove
Ash Grove welcomes back one of the better players in the state for her senior season.
Khloe Moad will have the opportunity to make her impact on southwest Missouri for a while after recently committing to Missouri State.
Moad is a 6-foot-2 guard who averaged 14.4 points and seven rebounds per game a season ago. Before committing to the nationally-ranked Lady Bears, she held offers from UT-Martin, Utah State, Murray State, Abilene Christian, Tulsa and Wichita State.
Kaemyn Bekemeier, Republic
The fastest rising player in southwest Missouri plays for a Republic team that has been one of the area’s best in recent years.
Kaemyn Bekemeier is a 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 15.3 points and five rebounds a season ago. As a sophomore, she already holds offers from Missouri State, Drury, Grand Canyon and Saint Louis.
The Class 5 all-state selection is already ranked as the No. 4 player in the state in the Class of 2023. It’s a name folks in the area should get used to.
MacKenzie Brunson, West Plains
The reigning Ozark Conference Player of the Year should be one of the better players in the state yet again.
MacKenzie Brunson, a senior, is coming off her second-consecutive All-State honor. She averaged 15 points and 4.9 rebounds per game on a West Plains team that finished 27-2 last season with its lone loss coming to an undefeated Carl Junction squad.
Brunson should again have the Lady Zizzers in state contention.
Emma Compton, Strafford
Playing for a program that produces stars on a yearly basis, it appears Emma Compton is next in line for the Strafford Lady Indians.
Compton is a junior guard who earned all-state honors as a sophomore while averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 boards per game.
The 5-foot-5 guard was a big reason why the Lady Indians won their fifth-straight title a year ago and she could be a big reason why they win a sixth this upcoming year.
Indya Green, Kickapoo
In Fontleroy’s absence a year ago, Indya Green was a dominant force inside and continued to make a name for herself.
The 5-foot-10 post player averaged a double-double while scoring 16.4 points and grabbing 11.7 rebounds per game.
With the addition of one of the better players in the country, Kickapoo has an opportunity to have a special year.
Jada Henry, Mansfield
The Lady Lions are coming off one of their better seasons in a long time and they have Jada Henry to thank.
Henry, a College of the Ozarks commit, is returning for her senior year after averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds on a 24-7 Mansfield team in 2019-20.
She was a first-team all-state selection and led the Lady Lions to the state quarterfinals. Mansfield has a lot to look forward to this season with her return.
Reese Schaaf, El Dorado Springs
A sophomore helped lead El Dorado Springs to its best season since winning the state championship in 2014.
A 25-3 El Dorado Springs team was led by Reese Schaaf — now a 5-foot-10 junior.
Schaaf averaged 20.3 points and eight rebounds per game as a sophomore. She was a big reason behind a 10-win uptick from the season before.
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Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He’s also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.