Last year, the West Burlington High School girls’ basketball team made their first state tournament appearance since 1977, an incredible accomplishment in a season plagued by cancellations, postponements and disruption from COVID-19.
This year, Notre Dame is off to a quick start, having won its first five games despite the loss of head coach Jim Myers, who died two weeks ago after a seven-year battle with cancer. The Nike, who are placed seventh in Class 1A, are using that as additional motivation this season.
Already, close races are shaping up in what appears to be a very competitive season in Southeast Iowa and Midwest Illinois.
While several teams are off to a good start, there are also plenty of talented individual players in the area.
Here’s a look at 12 of the best individual basketball players to watch this season in the Burlington area.
Shelby Bowman, Central West
Bowman, after playing last season at Notre Dame, has returned to West Central, where she is already thriving under the guidance of first-year Heat coach Tyler Klossing. The 5-foot-6 second-year goaltender has already scored 28 points in a game for the Heat and has just completed a big freshman campaign at Notre Dame. Last year, Bowman averaged 5.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals and helped the Nikes reach a Class 1A regional final.
Bradie Buffington, Union Winfield-Mount
Buffington, a 5-11 junior, plays in a balanced Wolves squad which is one of the best teams in the region. Last season, Buffington averaged 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.5 steals. While his numbers may not appear like the others due to the team’s balance, Buffington is worth the price of admission with his efforts 100 percent of the time.
Kaylee Corbin, Louisa-Muscatine
Since moving from Kickapoo High School to Springfield, Missouri, the 6-1 senior player has been a force to be reckoned with, a force few teams can match. Last season, Corbin averaged 14.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 1.0 steals. Under the tutelage of veteran coach Ken Spielbauer, Corbin’s game will continue to improve this season.
Megan Harrell, Notre-Dame
Harrell, a 5-10 rookie from Quincy University, is a nightmare for opposing teams. Harrell can do anything on the court that is asked of him, from playing the playmaker to guard shooter to displaying in the paint. She averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals last season. She has taken her game to another level this season and is one of the best assisters in the world.
Ellah Kissell, WACO
Kissell a junior 5-10. has become a top scorer for the Warriors. She can play inside and take him outside and bury the 3 point pointer. Last season, Kissell averaged 14.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals. When her outdoor game is activated, it is almost impossible to keep her one-on-one.
Andrea Lopreato, Mount Pleasant
Lopreato, a 5-10 junior, is another player who can play in multiple positions and it’s a tough game. She averaged 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.9 steals. She can hit the outside shot, can penetrate the paint, and can post smaller guards.
Kenna Marlow, West Burlington
With her older sister, Sydney, and Annaka Harris, who led the Falcons press last year, having graduated, the junior 5-8 rose to the top of the Falcons press. A ball of energy, Marlow averaged 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.4 steals last season. Look for those numbers to increase this season as the young Falcons gain experience in John Vandenberg’s system.
Lindsy Massner, Wapello
Massner, the sister of western Illinois goaltender Trenton Massner, plays for a team where she isn’t asked to be the top scorer, but can be when called upon. She averaged 9.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.6 steals last season. She will be counted on to help pave the way for an Arrows team that doesn’t have much depth at this point.
Hallie Mohr, Mediapolis
Mohr, a 5-10-year-old senior who has signed on to play for Des Moines Area Community College and head coach Steve Krafcisin next season, is an absolute beast on the blocks and can come out and knock down the midfield jumper. range. She recorded monster numbers last year for the Bullettes, averaging 22.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.4 steals last season. She is set for another great season under the watchful eyes of head coach Todd Borrison.
Malarie Ross, Fort Madison
Ross is a rough diamond, a hidden gem who can literally do it all on the court. At 5-3, the main guard may be short, but she’s a giant on the field for the Bloodhounds and head coach Tony Sargent. Ross averaged 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a whopping 5.5 steals per game last year, helping the Bloodhounds to one of their best seasons in the past two decades
Alexis Standard, Burlington
The Greyhounds’ senior 5-5 guard has unlimited range and isn’t afraid to back up and shoot 25 feet. She can also reach the rim with relative ease, and her passing ability opens things up for her teammates. Last season, Standard averaged 13.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals. If the young Greyhounds start to take down shots, it will open things up even further for Standard, who is drawing a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
Abby Wolter, Keokuk
Talk about a game nightmare, the 5-11 top guard for the Chiefs is the very definition. Wolter averaged 20.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 3.6 steals last year for the Chiefs under head coach Mike Davis.