By Christopher Tenpenny
For the second consecutive season, Drexel junior Emily Wheeler has been named the Wester Missouri Basketball Conference (WEMO) Player of the Year.
Wheeler averaged 23.1 points per game, 10 rebounds and four steals per game as she led the Lady Bobcats to its first district championship since 2016.
Head coach Josh Gordon had a little fun giving his star player the news.
“I had the principal call her down to the office just to scare her a little,” Gordon said. “When she got to the office, I told her. She was super excited and then said, ‘I guess I need to do it again.’”
Wheeler has had a remarkable first three years of her career, scoring 1,864 points, 679 rebounds, 242 assists and 333 steals. What could be scary for the rest of the conference is Wheeler appears to be get-ting better. She increased her shooting percentage by 21 percent from her sophomore to junior year and has become more efficient. Wheeler shot the ball 304 times fewer and got her teammates more in-volved.
“It’s a direct reflection of how unselfish she is and how hard she works,” Gordon said. “She could’ve shot the ball and aver-aged maybe 10 more points a game, but she wanted to do whatever she could to help her team win.”
Wheeler will go into her senior season with a chance to three-peat, something Adrian’s Jenna Shipley did from 2018 to 2020. Shipley currently plays for the Pitt State women’s basketball team.
Joining Wheeler on the WEMO All-Conference First Team is a pair of Archie Whirlwinds in senior Emma Thompson and junior Keara Mattingley. This is Thompson’s third year making first team. Thompson averaged 14 points a game, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals and shot 45 percent from the field. This is Mattingley’s second season making the first team. She averaged 16 points, 9.4 rebounds, two blocks and shot 50 percent from the field.
Midway senior Baylee Russ was named to the WEMO second team for the second consecutive season. Russ averaged a double-double scoring 12.8 points and 10 re-bounds per game.
Rounding out the all-conference honors is Archie sophomore Kaitlyn Newport. In her first season of extended action, Newport averaged 7.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.1 steals per game for the Whirlwinds.