After making history by being the first girls basketball team to ever win the SEMO Conference Tournament three times and also winning the conference’s regular-season championship, Notre Dame (22-7, 8-0 SEMO) was rightfully honored.
Not only did the Bulldogs have three players selected to the SEMO All-Conference Team, but one of them was named the SEMO Conference Player of the Year.
Dubbed as the 2021-22 SEMO Conference Player of the Year was senior guard Lexi Rubel, who also earned all-conference for the fourth and final time of her prestigious high school career.
“It’s a great honor, and it’s a little bittersweet because this is my last year,” Rubel said. “It really just validates all of my hard work. A lot of days I stayed after practice to shoot or work on my ball skills. I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of great teammates that have made me a better player.”
Through 29 games, Rubel averaged 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.3 steals while making 52.1% of her field-goal attempts and shooting 42.2% from 3-point range. Lexi also recorded 15 double-doubles and scored 20-plus points in 10 games and 30-plus in two outings.
On top of leading Notre Dame to its third-straight SEMO Conference Tournament Championship and first regular-season title in her career this past season, Rubel also helped the Bulldogs win a fourth-straight district championship.
Being named SEMO All-Conference along with Lexi for the second year in a row was none other than her younger sister and the second half of The Rubel Duo, junior guard Tori Rubel.
Tori posted averages of 8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.2 deflections per game, while shooting 36.6% from the field. Rubel also made the second-most 3-pointers for Notre Dame at 32 as Lexi paced her with 27 threes.
“Being named all-conference again is an honor and motivates me to keep working on my game,” Tori said. “I couldn’t have done it without my parents, coaches or any of the girls I’ve played with. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger overall and more aggressive. This has allowed me to score both inside and outside.”
Two of Tori Rubel’s top games this season came against SEMO Conference opponents Cape Central (13-8, 4-3) and Dexter (13-12, 4-4). Rubel scored a season-high 19 points and hit a career-high five 3-pointers versus the Bearcats in a 56-21 win Feb. 7, while she produced 17 points (two threes), six rebounds, two assists and two steals during Notre Dame’s 46-13 win over the Tigers on Jan. 31.
Tori Rubel nearly had a double-double in the Bulldogs regular-season outing versus conference rival Jackson Feb. 10, where she scored 11 points and came up with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. This performance propelled Notre Dame to a 46-25 win over the Indians and all but secured the Bulldogs their first SEMO Conference Regular Season Championship in Tori’s high school career.
Defensively, Tori Rubel and her teammates held Jackson (17-9, 6-1) to its lowest-scoring total of the season at 25 points. The Indians two-leading scorers and SEMO All-Conference selections junior guard Katie Waller and senior guard Jordyn “Jo” McClellan were both held to under double-digit points in the affair as Waller scored nine and McClellan eight.
“As three-time defending tournament champions, we knew that we had a target on our backs, so we used that as motivation,” Tori said. “We pushed each other every day at practice and on the court during games so we could play to the best of our ability.”
The third and final player for Notre Dame to be selected to the SEMO All-Conference Team was first-year starter junior guard Anna Garner. This was, of course, Garner’s first time earning all-conference as she took over for senior guard Leah Jansen, who suffered a season-ending injury after the first seven games of the winter.
In her first season as a member of the Bulldogs starting five, Garner recorded 8.3 points, 2.3 steals, 1.6 assists and 1.3 deflections per game. Anna finished with the fourth-most treys for Notre Dame as she hit 26, while fellow first-year starting junior guard Jenna Givens knocked down a team-high 61 3-pointers on 187 attempts (70 more attempts than anyone else on Notre Dame).
Moving on to the rest of the SEMO All-Conference selections, Jackson’s McClellan earned the honor for the second and final time of her career after averaging 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals. Waller was named all-conference for the first time after leading the conference in free-throw shooting and averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals per game.
Sikeston (17-7, 6-1) had two SEMO All-Conference honorees as well in seniors Karris Allen (last year’s conference player of the year) and Amyari Blissett. Also named all-conference was Cape Central junior Ki Bogan, Dexter senior Dulcie Pullen and Poplar Bluff (8-16, 3-5) junior Madelyn Eads.
There were four honorable mention selections with one being Saxony Lutheran senior Emma Voelker.
Two of this year’s SEMO All-Conference picks are signed on to play at the Division-I level: Lexi Rubel (UT Martin) and Karris Allen (Western Kentucky). Tori Rubel has yet to commit anywhere, but she does field an offer from UT Martin.