MHS Girls

Maryville girls basketball, front from left: Jaelyn Alley, Annie Sparks, Makayla Yaple, Ella Everhart, Carleigh McElvain, Ryesen Stiens; second row; coach Kendey Eaton, Emily Davis, Anastyn Pettlon, Jalea Price, Rachel Shields, Tatum Burson, Hadidjatou Bello, Jaci Elston, coach Kelly Obley, coach Rilee Moore; third row; coach Chase Tolson, Rylee Hornbuckle, Brailey Poppa, Autumn Ellis, Rylee Vierthaler, Ava Dumke, Addison Weldon, Sabryn Lager, Alyssa Cunningham and coach Sam Stienmeyer. Not pictured: Anea Krajkova

Having just two upperclassmen on the entire roster and having no seniors is a situation which few Class 3 basketball teams will have to face this season.

That situation is helped by the fact that those two juniors have the experience and talent of Anastyn Pettlon and Rylee Vierthaler.

That especially helps with first-year head coach Kelly Obley going into her debut season, although retired head coach Quentin Albrecht has credited his former assistant coach with drawing up a lot of the X’s and O’s that the Spoofhounds have implemented over an extremely successful run of basketball in Maryville the past few seasons.

“It has been awesome,” Obley said of the transition. “And that such a credit to Coach Albrecht who for the past five years has helped increase my role each year — to where now, moving into my own head coach position, I feel very confident in what we are doing through Albrecht’s mentorship.

“It is also a credit to these girls, because they have been tremendous in the energy they’ve brought and in their own leadership. It makes the coach’s job even easier.”

Of course, Albrecht isn’t the only person that the Spoofhounds are losing off of last season’s team. Serena Sundell was Miss Show-Me Basketball last season as the best player regardless of class in the state and is currently starting at point guard as a true freshman at Kansas State.

Most seasons, Emily Cassavaugh would be the headline loss too as she is playing collegiately at North Central Missouri College.

That is where Vierthaler and Pettlon step in accepting bigger roles this season as third-year starters.

“I’m obviously going to miss Serena, Emily, Lauren (Cullin) and all the players who have left, but it going to be pretty fun,” Pettlon said.

Pettlon is probably the player affected the most by the loss of Sundell. The last two seasons she relieved some of the burden on Sundell by playing point guard and allowing Sundell to play more off-ball, but Sundell was always there to help out if the offense was stuck. Now a larger portion of that play-making responsibility falls on the junior.

“We are really going to miss Serena obviously,” Pettlon said of her goals. “And it is going to be tough, but just to try to fill in that role being a scorer.”

Pettlon was second on the team in scoring last season with 11.4 points per game and led the team in 3-point percentage at 42 percent.

Vierthaler leads a post duo that with sophomore Ava Dumke should be a strength for the Hounds.

Vierthaler averaged 10.1 points per game last year and 6.2 rebounds. She and Pettlon played summer ball together for a club team named Kansas Elite.

“Obviously, I think I’m going to have to be more of threat to score this year with Serena gone, so I’m going to look to do that more,” Vierthaler said. “I think a lot of us are going to have to do that.”

Dumke burst onto the scene as the sixth man last year and started several games too. She played a lot of wing as a freshman, but will likely join Vierthaler as the other post this season as the two tallest players on the team.

Dumke averaged 3.8 points per game last and was fifth on the team in scoring.

“Ava always brings a tremendous work ethic,” Obley said. “She never takes a possession off. She is the one diving for loose balls on defense. She is the one hustling in transition on offense. She is the one scrapping for those rebounds.”

The rest of the team is more of a mystery going into the season without much varsity experience. Sophomore Ella Everhart played six games as a freshman and will have a much larger role this season.

The freshman class has Obley excited about its potential as well.

“Every single one of our freshmen have been super impressive,” Obley said. “Jalea Price has really stepped up in that other backcourt spot with Anastyn. She brings tremendous poise for a freshman. She is very aware of where to be and when to be there. She just has a competitive spirit about her that makes everyone around her want to play harder.”

Maryville opened the season on Tuesday against Savannah and will play in the Savannah Tournament next week. The Spoofhounds open the tournament against Chillicothe on Tuesday at 7 p.m. They will play either Benton or Platte County on Wednesday.

“All the younger players are just eager to get better and that is awesome,” Vierthaler said. “We have so many players who stay after practice every day consistently, just wanting to get better and wanting to put that extra time in which I think with really show out there on the court.”

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