Freshman Kylee Elmore and senior Curry Van Horn were among four Houston High School basketball players named to the all-conference team.
Elmore was joined on the girls’ team by senior Haylee Kell, who was named honorable mention.
Senior Rodney Preheim was also named honorable mention on the boys’ team.
Elmore, a guard, had no issues making the transition to the varsity level. She worked her way into the starting lineup shortly after Christmas and led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 11.9 points per game. She also ranked third on the team in rebounds (3.4), assists (1.2) and steals. (1.5).
Lady Tigers coach Brent Kell credited Elmore’s work ethic and mental toughness for her standout freshman campaign. He said Elmore was a unanimous selection to the second team.
“If the gym is open, she’s there. Sometimes she is calling to get the gym open –– and I love that,” Kell said. “All of her hard work paid off. She is one of the top young players in all of southwest Missouri.”
Elmore was the top perimeter shooter in the conference with 49 3-pointers on 44.5 percent shooting. Take away three games against Willow Springs –– when Elmore was a combined 1-for-16 from downtown –– and she shot 51.1 percent behind the arc.
“That is pretty remarkable,” Kell said.
Van Horn, a point guard, led HHS in scoring (17.2), assists (3.5) and free-throw percentage (91.0). He also averaged 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.
Haylee Kell, the team’s starting point guard, easily led Houston with 3.4 assists and 3.6 steals per game. She had a better than 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Kell also drew the assignment of defending the opponent’s best perimeter player.
“She always hustled and got her hands on everything, it seemed like,” Brent Kell said. “Other conference coaches commented on her ability to handle the ball and get us in our offense –– things that doesn’t always show up in stats.”
Preheim, who started at forward, was second behind Van Horn with 12.1 points per game and led HHS with an average of 5.8 rebounds. He also took a team-best 28 charges.
First team: Kyndall Bunch, Willow Springs; Payton Lakey, Ava; Jorie Garrett, Ava; Taylor Pruett, Liberty; Emily Eckman, Thayer.
Second team: Kamyrn Hutsell, Willow Springs; Kyra Bunch, Willow Springs; Kylee Elmore, Houston; Maddie Halford, Mountain Grove; Jordan Alford, Thayer.
Honorable mention: Jamie Reaves, Cabool; Kassidy Ledgerwood, Liberty; Ashlynn Rogers, Mountain Grove; Abbie Lansdown, Ava; Brittney Whetstine, Cabool; Haylee Kell, Houston; Rebecca Feston, Mountain Grove; Kaytlyn Wells, Salem; Laken Martin, Thayer; Tash Burtchett, Willow Springs; Demittra Walkup, Liberty.
Player of the year: Kyndall Bunch, Willow Springs
Coach of the year: D. J Gutscher, Willow Springs