Nyan­der Re­ceives Fil­bert Five Award

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rick Peck

Suzanne Nyan­der Sut­ton re­ceives the Fil­bert 5 Award from Gor­don Kinne, chair­man of the board of the Mis­souri Sports Hall of Fame, dur­ing the 2018 Basketball Lun­cheon held on Dec. 12 at the Oa­sis Ho­tel and Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Spring­field.

In the early 1980s, a four-year run of the girls’ basketball team at Mc­Don­ald County High School made his­tory, both at the state level, but even more so among the basketball fans of the county.

The team won two state cham­pi­onships, one state run­ner-up and four district ti­tles in a fouryear span. The play­ers and coach Jerry Davis re­ceived many awards and hon­ors while win­ning over 120 games and los­ing just a hand­ful in those four years.

The team was led by three play­ers that be­came known as “The Triplets” (Suzanne Nyan­der Sut­ton,

Sue Thomas But­tram and LaDonna Wil­son McClain), a trio of class­mates that be­gan play­ing to­gether in the fifth grade at South­west City.

None of the three were more hon­ored than Sut­ton. She re­mains the only player in Mis­souri his­tory to be named first team all-state all four years of her high school ca­reer. Af­ter her se­nior year, she was also named an All-Amer­i­can and re­mains the schools’ lead­ing scorer with 2,018 points.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion from MCHS, she played at Mis­souri South­ern State Col­lege in Joplin, where she was named the con­fer­ence Fresh­man of the Year in 1984 and named first team all-con­fer­ence three times (1984-1986).

The awards did not end af­ter her play­ing ca­reer did. In 2000, Sut­ton was named Player of the Decade for the 1980s by the Spring­field New-Leader.

Most re­cently, on Dec. 12, Sut­ton re­ceived the Fil­bert Five Award, pre­sented by the Mis­souri Sports Hall of Fame at its 2018 basketball lun­cheon, which in­cluded the in­duc­tion of Tony Arm­strong, Jacky Payne and Antony Peeler.

The Fil­bert Five Award is named in honor of the late Gary Fil­bert, a for­mer basketball coach, Mis­souri Sports Hall of Fame in­ductee and a Mis­souri Sports Leg­end. Fil­bert won 260 games at Mex­ico High school be­fore tak­ing the head po­si­tion at Mis­souri Western State Col­lege where the team won an­other 210 games, in­clud­ing na­tional tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances.

“It was very ex­cit­ing to re­ceive the award at such a very spe­cial event,” Sut­ton said. “It was awe­some to be hon­ored and to be in­cluded among all those great ath­letes.”

Join­ing Sut­ton as this year’s fe­male honorees were Melissa Grider (Mar­ion C. Early High School and Marsh­field High School), Jeni Bur­nett Hop­kins (Green­wood Lab­o­ra­tory School), Jenni Lin­gor (Mis­souri State Univer­sity) and Addy Roller (Purdy High School and Drury Univer­sity).

Sut­ton noted that, though it was her on the stage re­ceiv­ing to­day’s award, she wouldn’t have been there with­out the sup­port and help of many oth­ers.

“This isn’t any­thing you could do by your­self,” Sut­ton said. “All of my team­mates and coaches are a huge part of this.”

Sut­ton said that she and her team­mates didn’t un­der­stand at the time just what they had ac­com­plished and how it would be re­mem­bered years later. Sut­ton said it is at times like these when she thinks back to the glory days of the early 1980s.

“We were just play­ing for fun,” Sut­ton said.”We didn’t re­al­ize what it a big deal it was.”

RICK PECK/SPE­CIAL TO MC­DON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Suzanne Nyan­der Sut­ton re­ceives the Fil­bert 5 Award from Gor­don Kinne, chair­man of the board of the Mis­souri Sports Hall of Fame, dur­ing the 2018 Basketball Lun­cheon held on Dec. 12 at the Oa­sis Ho­tel and Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Spring­field.

RICK PECK/SPE­CIAL TO MC­DON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

The five fe­male win­ners of the 2018 Fil­bert Five Award pre­sented by the Mis­souri Sports Hall of Fame are (from left to right): Suzanne Nyan­der Sut­ton, Mc­Don­ald County High School; Addy Roller, Purdy High School; Jenni Lig­nor, Mis­souri State Univer­sity; Jeni Bur­nett Hop­kins, Green­wood Lab­o­ra­tory School; and Melissa Grider, Mar­ion C. Early High School and Marsh­field High School.

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