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Examiner
  • Four earn all-state honors

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  • The Eastern Jackson County area placed four players on the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State teams announced this week.
    Blue Springs South junior Kevin Puryear was named to the Class 5 boys team, along with Lee’s Summit junior Drew Lock.
    Truman placed a pair – senior center Becca Jonas and senior guard Abby Hix – on the Class 5 girls team. They were joined by Lee’s Summit North senior post player Imani Johnson.
    Puryear is getting recruiting attention from several Division I schools after averaging 19.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Jaguars, who finished 21-5. Puryear also set the school single-season records for rebounds (223) and free throws made (145) while shooting at a 72-percent clip from the line.
    “Kevin is blessed with a lot of athletic ability, but his work ethic is what has made him the player he is,” Jaguars coach Jimmy Cain said. “He would also be the first to mention that he has some great teammates who have really contributed to the many honors he is receiving. One of the most impressive things about Kevin's season is that he was as productive as he was despite facing constant double and triple teams this year.
    “He took a big leadership role this year, as our only returning starter. Not only did we play by the toughest schedule we have ever had, but Kevin never played in a game in which he faced less than a double team every time he had the ball.”
    Puryear will enter his senior season at South just nine points shy of the 1,000-point milestone. He is the only junior who is a finalist for the DiRenna Award, which goes to the best player in the metro area.
    Jonas, who has signed to continue her career with Drake University, repeats as an MBCA All-State pick. She and Hix, a Georgia Southern University signee, helped lead the Patriots to a 50-3 mark over the past two seasons and a district title this year.
    Jonas, a DiRenna Award finalist, averaged 17.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and one steal per game this season for the 25-2 Patriots.
    Hix averaged 13.8 points, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals for the balanced Patriots. She set a school single-season record for 3-pointers with 69 while breaking the school’s all-time 3-point record with 205.
    Johnson led Lee’s Summit North to a 24-6 record and a spot in the Class 5 state championship game, where the Broncos fell to state top-ranked and nationally ranked Columbia Rock Bridge.
    Johnson, also a DiRenna Award finalist, averaged 17.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. The Southeast Missouri State signee set the career scoring mark for North earlier this season.
    “Imani … added another dimension to her game each season. With her improvement on the perimeter this year, she became a post player that gave us team flexibility to use her as a guard on the perimeter and go with a bigger lineup,” Broncos coach Tricia Lillygren said. “She could score in a variety of ways, through double- and triple-team defense, with the perimeter drive and from the 3-point arc. She was a strong defender and on the boards for us. Imani came up big for us in a number of games and down the stretch in the postseason. She is a go-to player when games get tough and excels in that role.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Several area players also were named to the MBCA Academic All-State boys and girls teams.
    Blue Springs South had a pair on the girls team in senior guard Remy Davenport and senior forward Jolene Williams. Lee’s Summit North senior Jaden Powell also was named to that team.
    Lee’s Summit North’s Zach Lamb and Summit Christian Academy’s Wade Johnson, a former St. Mary’s High School player, were named to the boys Academic All-State squad.

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