Dominant Dozen: Southwest Missouri's best girls' basketball players of the 2022-23 season
The Springfield News-Leader is proud to announce its 2022-23 Dominant Dozen — honoring the 12 most impactful players of the high school basketball season.
The players were picked based on in-season production, News-Leader observations and consultations with high school basketball coaches from across the area. Statistics and other data were provided by coaches.
Springfield-area members of the Dominant Dozen are all finalists for the News-Leader's girls' high school basketball player of the year honor — which will be revealed Wednesday. The News-Leader will reintroduce its All-Ozarks girls' teams on Thursday which will also include large- and small-school coach of the year honors.
We nearly hit the nail on the head before the season with nine preseason selections making the final 12 in the end. Two others were featured in our annual "players who will make us regret not putting them in the Dominant Dozen" list.
2020-21 — Dominant Dozen: The Ozarks' best girls basketball players of the 2020-21 season
2021-22 — Dominant Dozen: The Ozarks' best girls basketball players of the 2021-22 season
Here are the 2022 Dominant Dozen, the Next Dozen and honorable mention selections — which are all in alphabetical order by last name.
Kaemyn Bekemeier, Republic
Bekemeier entered the year as the best player in the area and that's exactly how she exited. She's one of the most accomplished players in Republic history and rewrote the record books in her time with the Lady Tigers.
Her senior season ended with her third-consecutive Dominant Dozen recognition when the honor is in its third season of existence. She led Republic to a district championship this season while averaging 22.5 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals per game. She was a 46% shooter and was 36% from beyond the arc.
She set the school's career scoring record during her junior year and finished with 2,267. She also has the most rebounds in Republic history and set the single-season scoring record multiple times during her career. She's been a special player for southwest Missouri and should continue to be one as she heads to Missouri State next season.
Destiny Buerge, Carl Junction
Now a two-time Dominant Dozen honoree, Buerge ended her career as a co-Class 5 Player of the Year and as one of the best scorers to come through southwest Missouri over recent seasons.
Buerge averaged 24.6 points per game entering the state semifinals this year while shooting 34.4% from deep and 45.7% overall. She was third on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game and led the Lady Bulldogs to a Class 5 runner-up finish.
Buerge ended her career by averaging 24 or more points in each of the last three seasons and scored well over 2,000 points in her career. Buerge was a phenomenal player over her high school career.
Norah Clark, Nixa
Clark took over the starring role for Nixa and the Lady Eagles didn't drop off a bit when it was loaded with Division II-level players last season. Clark did a little bit of everything and showed why she's headed to UT Martin to play college basketball.
Clark averaged 16.9 points, 3.7 boards and two assists per game en route to an all-state season. She was a 48% shooter from the field and 35% beyond the arc. She saw bumps up from the 9.6 points and 1.8 assists she averaged as a junior.
There was no doubt that Clark had the potential to be this type of leader heading into the season and she proved to be so at the end of it. The Nixa girls' basketball program has been one of the area's best in recent years and Clark was the latest great player to come out of it.
Kameron Green, Fair Grove
The heart and soul of the state champion Lady Eagles, Green finished her career by leading her school to its first-ever state championship.
The senior center shined while leading Fair Grove in scoring with an average of 16 points per outing and had nearly seven boards per game. Green finished her career with 1,510 points and 612 rebounds.
Without Green, there would be no state championship trophy in Fair Grove. She was a presence that not many could slow down inside the paint on either side of the floor. The honorable mention selection from a year ago stepped her game up and became the leader the Lady Eagles needed in order to come away with a championship.
Bre Hurd, Waynesville
There have only been a handful of players with quite the ceiling that Hurd has and she's shown that she's elevating above most in the Ozarks after putting up ridiculous numbers this past season.
The Next Dozen selection from last season averaged 27 points and 13 rebounds per game this year while knocking down 52% of her shots. She's one of the top overall players in the state who already has 1,658 points and 801 boards in her career.
The Virginia commit has made herself known as an elite player in the area and she hasn't even reached her full potential yet — which is scary for everyone as she heads into her senior year.
Logan Jones, Mansfield
One of the best point guards in the area, if not the best, Jones climbs to the top from an honorable mention selection from last season to the Dominant Dozen postseason team of 2022-23.
Jones averaged 15 points per game to go along with 118 total assists. She had one of the better assist-to-turnover ratios in the area and was in control of the court every second she was on it.
At the same time, Mansfield was one of the better teams in the state and could have had a shot at the state title but it lost by two to Fair Grove in the state quarterfinals. Jones and the Lady Lions were awesome this year and she exits as one of the area's best.
Allyssa Joyner, West Plains
A Next Dozen selection as a sophomore, Joyner rose to the Dominant Dozen list after a great junior season that ended with a Class 5 third-place finish.
Joyner lived up to the potential many thought she had while averaging 16 points and seven rebounds per game. She was a 52% shooter and made 43% of her shots from beyond the arc.
West Plains has a ton of young talent coming back in 2023-24. With Joyner still leading the way, you can bet that the Lady Zizzers basketball program isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Lauren Luebbert, Marshfield
Luebbert makes her Dominant Dozen debut as a junior as she's been the top player on a Marshfield team that's looked like one of the better teams in the area for the last two seasons. She's been the reason why.
Luebbert is coming off her second Big 8 East Player of the Year season after averaging 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals per game. She was a 58% shooter from the field and 37% from deep.
Marshfield has had an extremely proud history of girls' basketball and Luebbert has been a reason why this team has won 20 or more games for the last three seasons. We're already expected to see a jump from the Lady Jays to being a state championship contender heading into her senior year.
Sami Mancini, Webb City
Emerging as one of the top prospects in the area, Mancini started to dominate the Ozarks this past season as a 6-foot-5 center who is demanding Power 5 interest.
Mancini averaged 17 points and 12.3 rebounds per game this season to go along with 2.7 blocks. She was efficient inside with a 52.1% field goal percentage and she demanded a lot of attention every time she stepped on the floor.
The sophomore helped elevate Webb City from a 12-13 team a year ago to one that went 18-11 and was a threat in nearly every game it played this season. She's a special one and her career is just getting started.
Macie Mays, El Dorado Springs
Leading El Dorado Springs to a state runner-up finish, Mays continued to be one of the best players in the area after a Next Dozen honor a year ago.
Mays made the jump to the Dominant Dozen squad after an outstanding year in which she averaged 25.2 points, 6.7 boards and 2.4 steals per game on 54.1% shooting. She stepped into the starring role without a hitch after losing an all-time great who led the Lady Bulldogs to a state championship a year ago.
Mays will also go down as an El Dorado Springs all-time great with 2,550 points to her name — the most in the school's history.
Raegan McCowan, Lebanon
McCowan, a Western Illinois signee, is back in the Dominant Dozen for the second year in a row. This year, she was named the Ozark Conference's player of the year and was more than deserving of yet another honor.
Her senior year wrapped up with her averaging 26.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. McCowan's season featured her breaking Lebanon's all-time scoring mark while finishing with over 2,100 for her career.
It's difficult to see anyone breaking or coming close to any of McCowan's records in Lebanon anytime soon. It would be a surprise to no one if she went to Western Illinois and put up big numbers there as well.
Sara Mendel, Ava
The co-Class 4 player of the year will go down as one of Ava's all-time greats after three-straight seasons that landed her on the all-state team.
Mendel exits Ava as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,485 points. She averaged 18.5 this past season with 9.8 boards and 1.8 steals per game. She grabbed 911 rebounds during her Ava career.
Mendel left her mark by leading Ava to three-straight district championship wins while winning 21 or more games each year over that span. The 6-foot-3 forward has a bright future ahead at Southwest Baptist.
Kaitlyn Drake, Norwood
Grace Frazier, Diamond
Ashlen Garrett, Skyline
Willow Gideon, Rolla
Kerrigan Guerin, Chadwick
Kya Johnson, Kickapoo
Elsie Larsen, Strafford
Mikayla Pilley, Kickapoo
Kylie Scott, Carl Junction
Ellie Smith, Walnut Grove
Zoey Williams, West Plains
Kianna Yates, Carthage
Megan Brown, Sparta
Ellie Creasy, Aurora
Brooke Daniels, Fair Grove
Jordyn Foley, Ozark
Jacie Gavisk, Walnut Grove
Hazley Grotjohn, Seneca
Reilly Heman, Glendale
Laney Humble, Strafford
Lauren Jones, Mansfield
Loghann Leivan, Miller
Raeleigh Little, Chadwick
Tara Masten, Parkview
Abby McBride, Marshfield
Misora Nambara, Republic
Lucy Newberry, Marionville
Miya Nieto, Kickapoo
Cora Roweton, Bolivar
Kyndall Scott, Golden City
Clara Swearingen, Nevada
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at email@example.com or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Dominant Dozen: Springfield area top girls' basketabll players of 2023