As of Wednesday, December 27, 2017
DALLAS — There’s something thrilling about senior Jordan Dippel when she steps onto a basketball court for Dallas’ girls basketball team.
“I love the freedom you have with the ball,” Dippel said. “I love how you can be creative with your moves; how you can define a game with a shot right below the hoop. I love playing in front of however many people are in the crowd. I love everything about basketball.”
Dippel has established herself as one of the Dragons’ leaders, but that wasn’t always the case.
Dippel began playing sports in elementary school.
“I was a socially awkward kid,” Dippel said. “My confidence was at an all-time low when I first started.”
As time went by, something began to change. She began getting close to her teammates — many of whom became some of her closest friends off the court.
With each new friend made and each skill learn, she became more and more confident.
Now, she can’t wait for practices to begin.
“It’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown,” Dippel said. “I love going to the gym and hanging out. I love going to practice. If I’m in a bad mood, I know my teammates will bring me out of it.”
Dippel has emerged as a leading scoring threat for the Dragons. She scored 18 points against Roosevelt on Dec. 11 and a team-high 11 points against Hillsboro on Dec. 15.
“I think early on, her confidence in her shooting wasn’t there,” coach Tim Ehlers said. “The last three games, she’s gotten more confident and it’s showed.”
She’s also shown a knack for knowing when to shoot, drive or pass.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Dippel said. “I’m not afraid to take the open shot. I’m not afraid to pass the ball or to drive in and kick it out to someone.”
But Dippel has also been asked to do things she hasn’t been asked to before — play more in the paint.
“She had not been an inside player her first three years,” Ehlers said. “Sometimes it can be hard because they get into a mindset of ‘this is how I play.’ We’re not a tall team though, so we need to learn to play multiple positions. We ask them to play uncomfortable.”
It’s taken some getting used to, but Dippel, along with her teammates, are buying in.
“We’re not the tallest team, but we work hard,” Dippel said. “That sounds really cliched, but it’s 100 percent true. We don’t take anything lightly. We take pride in our defense and our rebounding.”
The result has been a 6-1 start to the season.
“We are taking care of the ball,” Dippel said. “There are things to work on, but they are easy things to fix.”
The Dragons close out their nonleague season at Sprague Friday at 6:45 p.m. and at Pendleton Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Dallas opens Mid-Willamette Conference play by hosting Corvallis on Jan. 9.
“We’re ready to kick some butt, honestly,” Dippel said.