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Central’s Maddy Pape, left, and Dallas’ Jessica Mitchell, right, eye a rebound in Friday’s nonleague contest. The two were teammates last year, before Pape transferred to Central after the season.
December 05, 2012
DALLAS 43, CENTRAL 38
DALLAS -- Sarah Mitchell admits the competitiveness on the basketball court between her older sister -- and Dallas teammate, Jessica -- can occasionally escalate.
"We push each other in practice -- a lot," Sarah Mitchell said. "Sometimes, it comes home and we argue, but I think it just makes us better."
That's evident to just about everyone.
"They try to outdo each other. It seems like they want to one-up one another, but they play harder because of that," Dallas coach Dave Brautigam said of the duo.
Luckily for the Mitchells, they can't argue too much about who played better in Friday's season-opening 43-38 victory over Central: each sister scored a game-high 15 points.
"We played together last year and that was fine," Jessica Mitchell, a senior and the Dragons' leading scorer a year ago, said of Sarah, now a sophomore.
Dallas’ Sarah Mitchell puts up a fading shot against Central’s Sai Tapasa in Friday’s nonconference game at Dallas.
"But she's just matured so much. She's just come so far and she's really good."
The offensive production from Jessica Mitchell -- who showed plenty of range with a few 15-foot jumpers in Friday's nonleague win -- was to be expected.
The 5-foot-11 post averaged nearly 12 points per game in 2011-12 and was named the Itemizer-Observer's Polk County Player of the Year for high school girls basketball.
The emergence of her younger sister is a bit more of a surprise.
Well, maybe not to everyone.
"For me being her coach, I'm not surprised," Brautigam said of Sarah Mitchell. "She's one of the more consistent players on varsity; her and Jess are the two that have the most experience. But she has a scoring mentality, so when she's shooting the ball it doesn't surprise me."
Sarah Mitchell connected the most in Friday's second quarter, when she nailed three buckets -- including a contested 3-pointer -- and made both of her free throws to help Dallas (1-0) take a 25-20 lead at halftime.
"I just really love to shoot the ball," Sarah Mitchell admitted with a smile.
Central (0-1) didn't fade easily, however.
After a third-quarter drought that saw the Panthers score just five points, Central charged back with a fourth-quarter run to cut the lead to six, 42-36, with 1:20 left in the game.
Senior Catherine Cutsforth scored seven of her eight points in the fourth quarter, while the Panthers' leading scorer, Maddy Pape (13 points), added two buckets of her own during the run.
But the Dragons were able to hold off a mistake-prone Central squad to close out the game and take the second-straight meeting between the two crosscounty rivals, who played last season after a 14-year hiatus.
Central's Maddy Pape goes up for a shot against Dallas' Jessica Mitchell (15) in Friday's nonconference game at Dallas.
Dallas defeated the Panthers 53-21 at Central in 2011-12.
"We have a lot to learn," first-year Central head coach Julie McDonald said of her squad, which committed 25 turnovers. "Everything's so new to us right now. ... We tried cramming in so much into one week as we possibly could. There was a lot of new stuff and I think it was a little frustrating to everybody."
Pape, who transferred to Central from Dallas over the summer, added seven rebounds and Cutsforth had six rebounds to lead the Panthers.
"I told them that the bad news is we lost; the good news is, we've got a long way to go," added McDonald. "We're going to look at where we're at at the end of the year and I think we're going to see a lot of improvement."
Dallas, on the other hand, will continue to develop its own inexperience.
Sophomores Eva Ronco (eight points), Taylor Fennell (three points) and Makenzie Davis (two points) are all first-time varsity starters.
"A lot of these players didn't play a lot of minutes last year, so I was looking to see if they would come out and play shy," Brautigam said. "I knew we were going to be good when our guards came out shooting."
Sherwood at Dallas
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Lincoln
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Molalla at Central
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.
La Salle Prep at Central
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.