Northeast Missouri was home to several outstanding teams and players during the 2022-23 high school basketball season.
I crisscrossed not only Northeast Missouri, but also West Central Illinois throughout the winter, often covering games six days a week.
One qualification I had in selecting players was that I needed to see that team play at least once. Unfortunately, I was never able to fit in a North Shelby girls basketball game in my schedule, but I do want to give them a shout out on a very successful season.
Although I saw a lot of basketball, I did not see every game of any team. I put some stock in players who had big-time performances in games I covered.
I did not rely on just the eye test -- I also considered other recognitions such as All-Conference selections, statistics that were available and input from conversations I had with players and coaches from the area when I put together this list.
Putting together the teams was a challenging task, which led to me expanding the All-Area Team to include an honorable mention, so that more local athletes can be recognized.
Lastly, this is mostly just for fun and something to recognize local athletes.
I am not a coach or scout and this list has no bearing on college recruiting or scholarships. It's just one person's opinion at the end of the day.
In Wednesday's paper, the finalists for the All-Area Awards were released. Now, it's time to release the award winners and All-Area Teams.
Bear Bock, Boys MVP
Palmyra junior forward Bear Bock made an impact on all phases of the game this season, helping the Panthers to a 20-7 record.
Bock was a unanimous First Team All-Conference selection in the Clarence Cannon Conference, one of three Palmyra players selected.
Offensively, Bock has the capability to shoot and score inside, as well as dish out the ball to teammates for scoring opportunities. He was also a top-notch defender and rebounder this season.
"Bear has a high ceiling and he continues to develop his game," said Palmyra head coach Brian Rea. "His impact is felt in every statistical category. I'm most impressed with his willingness to defend and rebound for us. His offensive game is continuing to evolve, but it's his unselfishness and willingness to do the dirty work that has been the biggest contribution to our team and program."
Runners Up: Bowling Green sophomore Jace Eskew and Canton sophomore Preston Brewer
Kyle Frazier, Boys Defensive Player of the Year
Having a 6' 8' center like senior Kyle Frazier has been an advantage for Canton in many ways.
Frazier averaged 1.4 blocks per game and limited opponents chances in the paint this season. He also averaged 7.4 boards per game.
"Kyle has been the middle of the 2-3 zone all year," said Canton head coach Dalton Armontrout. "He gets his share of blocks, but he also changed a lot of shots. He did a good job at keeping the ball in play when he did block and gave his teammates chances to score on the other end. He did a great job of rebounding as well."
Frazier will be a tough player for the Class 2 District 6 champions to replace next year.
"(Frazier's) a good basketball player, but an even better person," Armontrout said. "He will be missed next year."
Runners Up: Palmyra junior Bear Bock and Monroe City senior Reece Buhlig
Quincy Mayfield, Boys Freshman of the Year
With Monroe City losing 10 players from last year's team, the Panthers needed young players to step up this season.
Monroe City freshman Quincy Mayfield was one of several freshmen inserted into a lineup on a team adjusting to life without mainstays like Joshua Talton, Josiah Talton and Kyle Hays that brought the Panthers so much success over the previous four seasons.
"Quincy was thrown into the fire this season and excelled," said Monroe City head coach Brock Edris. "A freshman asked to play point guard at the varsity level in the Clarence Cannon Conference with few returners is a tall task. I believe Quincy gained some valuable experience for the future."
Mayfield shined the brightest at the biggest stage, when he scored a game-high 19 points during the Class 3 District 6 semifinal loss against Monroe City.
For the next three seasons, Mayfield figures to be a building block for Monroe City.
"We're fortunate to have a kid like Quincy in our program," Edris said. "I know he will continue to develop his game and his leadership on and off the court for our team."
Runners Up: Canton's Kaden Oliver and Monroe City's Toby Sapp
Dalton Armontrout, Boys Coach of the Year
This was one of the toughest decisions with South Shelby head coach Kent O'Laughlin guiding the Cardinals to its first district title since 1994 in his first season at the helm. O'Laughlin definitely deserved serious consideration for the award.
Dalton Armontrout was also in his first season as Canton's head coach after coaching South Shelby the previous two seasons, ironically.
Armontrout's team overcame a 0-4 start to catch fire late in the season and capture the Class 2 District 6 championship, finishing the season 16-13.
Along the way, Canton took third place in three different tournaments -- Highland, Tony Lenzini and La Plata.
Runners Up: Palmyra's Brian Rea and South Shelby's Kent O'Laughlin
Boys First Team
Kyle Frazier, Canton, senior
Bear Bock, Palmyra, junior
Preston Brewer, Canton, sophomore
Jace Eskew, Bowling Green, sophomore
Jaylyn Countryman, Monroe City, senior
Zaiden Wood, South Shelby, senior
A pair of sophomores were the top offensive threats for their teams with Canton's Preston Brewer and Bowling Green's Vincent Eskew.
Monroe City senior Jaylyn Countryman and South Shelby senior Zaiden Wood were both key leaders on their teams this season, as well as strong offensive players.
Bock and Frazier were two of the top post players in the area and Courier-Post award winners.
Boys Second Team
Carson Hicks, Palmyra, junior
Gunner Bryant, Bowling Green, junior
Reece Buhlig, Monroe City, senior
Dae'Shon Glasgow, Hannibal, senior
Devin Stutsman, Highland, senior
Trey Countryman, South Shelby, senior
Palmyra junior Carson Hicks was a top rebounder for the Panthers, as well as one of its key offensive players.
Hannibal senior Dae'Shon Glasgow was a key leader for a Pirates team ravaged by injuries this season.
Gunner Bryant, Reece Buhlig, Trey Countryman and Devin Stutsman are probably best known for their exploits on the gridiron, but all had strong seasons on the hardwood.
Boys Honorable Mention
Sam Northcutt, Mark Twain, sophomore
Mason Hull, Hannibal, junior
Quincy Mayfield, Monroe City, freshman
Josh Brothers, Mark Twain, senior
C.J. Anderson, Hannibal, junior
Marty Smyser III, Palmyra, sophomore
Evan Burbridge, Canton, senior
Wyatt Goldinger, Marion County, junior
Miranda Patterson, Girls MVP
Northeast Missouri was stacked with girls basketball talent this season, making this a tough decision.
The Palmyra duo of Candra King and Sydney Compton were the runners up for this award, and I also took a hard look at Canton senior Nariah Clay and Highland senior Ansley Bringer.
Palmyra sophomore Clare Williams, Bowling Green senior Grace Deters and South Shelby sophomore Belle Roush also impressed this season.
However, I came to the conclusion that South Shelby senior Miranda Patterson was the most valuable player in the region. She came through in the biggest of games and was voted as the top player in a strong Clarence Cannon Conference.
"Miranda truly epitomizes what hard work and dedication can do, not only for a player but for a whole team," said South Shelby head coach Luke O'Laughlin. "She has worked extremely hard at her game on her own outside of what we do as a team, then backed that up by coming to practice everyday and pushing her teammates to be the best versions of themselves."
Patterson has committed to Maryville University and O'Laughlin wished her the best of luck in her collegiate career.
"She has always been a great leader since taking over the point guard duties as a freshman and always brought a top-notch attitude," O'Laughlin said. "Not only will we miss her as a basketball player and a leader, but most importantly as a person of great character in our program and school."
Runners Up: Palmyra junior Candra King and Palmyra sophomore Sydney Compton
Candra King, Girls Defensive Player of the Year
Palmyra junior forward Candra King was a force in the post this season on both ends of the floor.
King averaged 3.4 blocks per game, 2.0 steals per game and 13.4 rebounds per game.
"She's been tremendous for us as our backline defenders," said Palmyra head coach Tim Southers. "She's blocking shots .. and she's had the double the rebounds this year."
King had a jump from 14 blocked shots during her sophomore season to 89 this season.
"She's been a mainstay for us defensively," Southers said. "We don't win the game we win without her being a stalwart for us on the defensive end with both blocking shots and getting rebounds. She also led us in scoring."
Runners Up: Canton senior Nariah Clay and South Shelby senior Milli Mozee-Williams
Naaron Hays, Girls Freshman of the Year
This was a difficult choice that I went back-and-forth on since Monroe City's Naaron Hays, Hannibal's Malia Stolte and Highland's Addy Abell all had big moments this season.
It was a strong group of freshman this year that also included Mark Twain's Adalynne Means and Highland's Abby Lay, who also deserve recognition.
Ultimately, I went with Hays due to her starting at the beginning of the season and arguably being the top player on Monroe City this season.
"Naaron has done an outstanding job for us this year," said Monroe City head coach Adam Rung. "We asked a lot from her as a freshman. She's a really talented girl and has a really good skill set. I really saw her improve game to game, and I think the sky is the limit for her if she continues to work and get better."
Runners Up: Highland's Addy Abell and Hannibal's Malia Stolte
Shawn Gaines, Girls Coach of the Year
There are plenty of really good girls basketball coaches in Northeast Missouri, but this year's choice is as clear as day.
Hannibal head coach Shawn Gaines brought a new-found attitude to a team that was down on its luck, coming up with the slogan, Why Not Us?
Hannibal went from five wins in the previous two seasons to 18 wins during the 2022-23 season, Gaines first season on the job.
Three Hannibal players earned All-Conference selections this season -- Mariah Mayfield, Abbie Martin and Malia Stolte -- who will form the core of the team coming into next season.
Don't expect Hannibal to let the foot off the gas next season, with Gaines moving on to a new slogan, Burn the Boats.
Runners Up: Canton's Danielle Baker, South Shelby's Luke O'Laughlin and Palmyra's Tim Southers
Girls First Team
Candra King, Palmyra, junior
Sydney Compton, Palmyra, sophomore
Belle Roush, South Shelby, sophomore
Miranda Patterson, South Shelby, senior
Nariah Clay, Canton, senior
Clare Williams, Palmyra, sophomore
Patterson and King were Courier-Post award winners and First Team All-Conference selections.
South Shelby sophomore Belle Roush had a strong season and will be counted on one of the team's key players with the impending graduation of Patterson.
Palmyra sophomores Sydney Compton and Clare Williams built off the success they had as freshman last year. Compton averaged 14.4 points, 8.5 boards and 3.1 steals per game; while Williams averaged 10 points per game, 4.8 boards, 3.7 assists and 4.2 steals per game.
Canton senior Nariah Clay led her team in points per game (12.6), rebounds (5.8), assists (5.0) and steals (3.5). She has committed to Morton College.
Girls Second Team
Milli Mozee-Williams, South Shelby, senior
Macy Glasgow, Canton, sophomore
Grace Deters, Bowling Green, senior
Mariah Mayfield, Hannibal, sophomore
Ansley Bringer, Highland, senior
Naaron Hays, Monroe City, freshman
South Shelby senior Milli Mozee-Williams was a force in the interior this season, especially on defense and rebouding.
Canton sophomore Macy Glasgow made a huge step up this season, averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 boards per game this season.
Highland senior Ansley Bringer and Bowling Green senior Grace Deters both had really strong senior seasons, earning First Team All-Conference selections. I was able to catch some of each player's strongest games of the season, with Bringer coming away with 22 points and 17 boards in the Highland Tournament championship game on Jan. 7 and Deters putting up 30 points and five boards in a win over Van-Far on Jan. 13.
Hannibal sophomore Mariah Mayfield has a bright future ahead and earned a First Team All-Conference selection. Perhaps her finest moment of the season was when she drained a game-winning free throw against Palmyra on Feb. 17, Hannibal's first win over Palmyra in 15 years.
Girls Honorable Mention
Abbie Martin, Hannibal, sophomore
Taytum White, Palmyra, junior
Mari Gares, Monroe City, junior
Macie Fisher, Canton, junior
Abbey Redd, Palmyra, senior
Kyliah French, Hannibal, senior
Kaylee Gaines, South Shelby, senior
Nora Hark, Hannibal, senior
Addy Abell, Highland, freshman
Adalynne Means, Mark Twain, freshman
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