From the 1930s on through the present, St. James High School has been pumping out some great athletes for fans to watch.

From the 1930s on through the present, St. James High School has been pumping out some great athletes for fans to watch.

Because the St. James community has been so basketball crazy  - with state tourney semifinal participants in at least six different decades - a great deal of those athletes took to the court.

The greatest St. James athlete? That would probably depend who you ask - and how old they are. There are fine candidates from the 1940s, the 1960s, the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and on through the 2000s.

Fortunately this list does not have to declare a No. 1. But we are presenting our Top-10 and Best of the Rest lists of top athletes. Let the arguments begin!

Here is a look at our top-10, in alphabetical order:

Top-10
Jennifer Bowen (2005): Of all the Lady Tiger basketball greats, Bowen was the winningest, having led the program to THREE, count ‘em, THREE Final Four appearances. Adding to that, she was an assistant coach for the program’s most recent Final Four squad three years ago. Now, that’s a winner!
On the court Bowen was a special floor general when she first cracked the lineup as a freshman. She earned all-state honors as a freshman, junior and senior, leading her team to the Final Four in 2001-02 (fourth place), 2003-04 (third place) and 2004-05 (third place). Despite being so unselfish she would often pass too much, Bowen became an offensive force when she needed to as a senior, averaging 21.2 points. She ranks third in the Lady Tiger record books in career points (1,641), third in career assists (791) and second in steals (493). She went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at North Florida.

Kevin Conway (1987): Conway was a three-sport standout. In football the tall, lanky Conway was a two-time all-state punter, an all-district receiver and all-district defensive back. He was also an all-district basketball player as a senior. And in track he was a state meet qualifier in both the 100- and 200-meter dash. To top it off, he also played baseball in the spring.

Parker Fane (2016): Fane’s body of work is not even complete. But she’s already accomplished enough to make the top-10 list. The only two-time state champion in Lady Tiger history, Fane won both of her state titles this year, capturing the Missouri Class 3 800-meter and 1,600-meter crowns in dominating fashion. As a sophomore she placed fifth in the 800-meter run at state, giving her three all-state track honors. And she is a two-time state meet qualifier in cross country...so far. She’s still got another school year of running ahead of her!

Craig James (1980): A two-time all-district player and one-time all-stater, the most potent single-season scoring machine in the history of Tiger basketball. James starred as an all-district guard on a 23-5 squad in 1978-79. And as a senior in 1979-80 James blossomed into an all-stater, pouring in points at the rate of 25.1 per game. After leaving St. James, signed to play basketball at Drury.

Angie Smith (1998): Smith was a six-time all-state competitor in the hurdle events for the Lady Tigers. She won the 1998 Missouri Class 3 girls’ 300-meter hurdle state championship with a time of :45.49. In her other three years with STJ she finished seventh, fifth and third at state in the 300 hurdles. She was also a two-time all-stater in the 100-meter hurdles.

Ashlee Marlatt (2015): A four-year starter for the Lady Tigers, Marlatt is one of the Missouri girls’ basketball’s best-ever three-point shooters. A two-time all-stater, Marlatt  helped lead STJ to the 2013 Final Four. She ranks No. 4 on the Lady Tiger career scoring list (1,619 points) and is among the all-time state leaders in career (289) and single-season (103 in 2014-15) three-point baskets made. She was also a standout infielder/catcher for the Lady Tiger softball squad.

Shane Parker (1984): A varsity starter as a freshman in Crocker, Parker then moved to St. James and had a superb three-year run with the Tigers. Parker was a three-time All-Four Rivers Conference player, winning FRC MVP as a senior and finishing league MVP runner-up as a sophomore and junior. He averaged 17.5 points as a sophomore, 14.5 points and seven rebounds as a junior and as a senior he earned all-state honors by averaging 17.2 points and seven rebounds to help St. James finish with a 26-1 overall record. Played college ball at Harding University.

Amy Rhea (1995): Rhea was dominating during her time in Lady Tiger basketball.  Her school-record of 2,604 career points is nearly 1,000 more than the runner-up total and is also the school’s career rebound later at 1,168. She has the three best single-season scoring averages (25.69 in 94-95, 25.59 in 93-94, 23.50 in 92-93).
Rhea was a three-time all-state first-team selection (1993-95), and following her senior season in 1995 was honored as Miss Show-Me Basketball, given to the state’s top player.

Chad Shockley (2006): Certainly has an argument as the greatest athlete in STJ history. Not only is Shockley the St. James career scoring leader in boys’ basketball with 1,307 points, he also rewrote the football record book. A three-time all-state football performer who played both receiver and running back as well as defensive back and return specialist, Shockley set school records for all-purpose yards (2,630), points scored (178), touchdowns (29) while rushing for 1,337 yards and totaling 839 receiving yards - in his senior year alone! In also he set 33 school records, was named MoSports.com’s Class 3 Player of the Week on two occasions and was a Wendy’s High School Heisman finalist.
Listed among the Missouri high school record book leaders in several categories including single-game totals of total points (48), rushing yards (417), rushing touchdowns (7), longest kickoff return (99 yards and all-purpose yards (483); single-season totals of all-purpose yards (2,630), and career totals of receptions (174), receiving yards (2,909) and all-purpose yards (7,637). Went on to set receiver records with Missouri S&T.

Rex Weiss (1979): Weiss was no-doubt the athlete of the 1970s at St. James. He was the quarterback of the best-ever Tiger football team in 1977. He was all-state in basketball two straight seasons. He pitched in baseball. Oh, and as a freshman he was a member of the Tigers’ lone state-champion boys’ basketball squad.
Weiss earned all-district honors in football at quarterback, defensive back and linebacker. He was all-state in basketball both his junior and senior seasons, as the Tigers finished 23-5 during the 1978-79 campaign. He later was a highly-touted football recruit for Mizzou and went on to become a starting linebacker for the MU Tigers.

BEST OF THE REST:
Dennis Boone (1978): Boone was one of the state’s best on both sides of the ball as a senior for the Tiger football team in 1977. He earned all-state honors at defensive tackle. And he later was signed as an offensive line recruit by the Mizzou Tigers.

Bri Butery (1997): The muscle of some of the great Billy Crabtree teams. Butery was a beast underneath and ranks ninth in career points (1,410), third in career rebounds (1,039) and first in career blocked shots (264).

Rachel Connell (2011): Connell was a four-time all-district, two-time all-state point guard who helped the Lady Tigers make three state quarterfinal berths.

Allison Edwards (1994): Almost quietly, Edwards put up some of the greatest numbers in Lady Tiger basketball history. Of course, playing on the same team with Amy Rhea for three years can push a player out of the spotlight. Edwards is second in STJ career scoring (1,712), fifth in career rebounds (728), fourth in career assists (479) and fifth in career steals (337).

Greg Harlan (1988): Current Tiger football head coach, Greg Harlan was also a top-notch athlete for the Tigers during his playing days. He earned all-state honors as a running back in football and all-district honors as a guard in basketball. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons (1,025 yards in 1986, 1,189 yards in 1987).

Jake Harlan (2012): Like father, like son. Jake Harlan was an all-state football player on both sides of the ball (secondary on defense, utility on offense) and was a four-year starter for the Tigers. As a senior quarterback he completed 65 percent of his passes and compiled a school-record 3,314 total yeards and 35 touchdowns, setting two single-game state records in 2011 in a game against league rival Owensville, including an amazing 720 yards of total offense. In basketball he was a three-year starter and earned all-conference and all-district honors.

Brittany Harris-Conway (2012): Despite being undersized, a monster rebounder for the Lady Tigers, as she was a force all four seasons. Her last two seasons she earned all-state honors. Went on to play at Webster University.

Evelyn Laycock (2001): In addition to being one of the top Lady Tiger basketball players ever, Laycock was also a track athlete. But it was in basketball where she turned the most heads, earning all-state and Four Rivers Conference Player of the Year honors in both 2000-01. She was also a Miss Show-Me Basketball finalist in 2001. Laycock is fifth on the Lady Tiger career scoring list with 1,584 points, and holds the school single-game scoring record with 43 points (vs. Pacific).

Jack Mueller (2013): A 6-7 jumping jack with an uncanny ability to block shots, Mueller helped power the Tiger boys’ basketball squad to a 24-4 record in 2012-13. The team was 21-1 when Mueller suffered a badly sprained ankle a week before the district tournament. He returned but couldn’t pull STJ out of a murderous district tourney. He averaged 16.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.1 blocks to earn all-state honors. For his Tiger career Mueller scored 936 points and blocked a whopping 205 shots.

Shannon Parker (1991): Shane Parker’s little sister and Parker Fane’s mother, Shannon has her own place among the great STJ athletes. As a junior Shannon earned a state championship by winning the Missouri Class 3 girls’ 800-meter run in 1990 with a time of 2:21.13. She was injured as a senior and didn’t return to the medal stand, but later ran track at Mizzou. Her time in the 800 stood as the STJ school record for 24 years until her daughter broke it in 2014.

Susan Rhea (1992): Susan, Amy’s big sister, did it all for Lady Tiger basketball. The speedy guard is eighth on the career scoring list (1,456), first in career free throws made (393), fifth in career assists (390) and fourth in career steals (355). She was a two-time all-state player (1991-92).

Alexis Uffmann (2015): The quarterback on the basketball court. Uffmann was a four-year starter and was the floor general for the Lady Tigers’ Final Four squad in 2013. She is second in school history in career assists (845) and third in career steals (464). Of the seven top single-game assist performances, Uffmann has six of them. She was also a four-year starting shortstop in softball.

Kim Woodruff (1997): Another great Lady Tiger floor general, Woodruff was the leader of the first Final Four squad. Her career assist (943) and steal (799) totals not only top the STJ record books, but still rank second overall among all Missouri girls’ basketball players.

Jennifer Bowen
Kevin Conway
Parker Fane
Craig James
Angie Smith
Ashlee Marlatt
Shane Parker
Amy Rhea
Chad Shockley
Rex Weiss