Friday, May 24, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Dallas’ Taylor Fennell, right, drives past Churchill’s Hannah Montgomery during Thursday’s game.
January 02, 2013
DALLAS -- Most of the time, their names don't dominate the scoring sheet.
But if you watch Dallas High's games closely, it's hard to ignore all of the small -- yet critical -- plays that Dallas' new players at the guard positions make that produce the current success of the Dragons' girls basketball team.
The sophomore trio of Taylor Fennell, Brianna Classen and Robynn Weiser -- combined with senior reserve Leslie Classen -- know their roles.
Even more importantly, they accept them.
"I just go out and penetrate and try to be ready to shoot," said Fennell, who dropped in a 3-pointer in Dallas' 46-37 loss to Churchill Thursday.
She added four rebounds -- three of them offensive -- two assists and a steal in the close contest, which opened Dallas' play in the Dragons' host tournament last weekend.
Friday, the Dragons bounced back for a big 51-36 victory over Parkrose and then followed that win with a 49-32 decision over Wilsonville Saturday after the Itemizer-Observer went to presss.
Fennell had one of her biggest scoring outputs of the season against Wilsonville, scoring 13 points.
Briana Classen, who scored two points but added a rebound and an assist Thursday, is another first-time varsity starter who has begun to define her role as well.
"I think I try to just work hard, work as a team and try to get our team pumped and working together."
Dallas (6-2 through Friday) certainly isn't having trouble with chemistry.
Dallas’ Briana Classen looks for an opening in Thursday's game against Churchill at the Dallas tournament. The Dragons fell, 46-37, but responded with wins over Parkrose and Wilsonville Friday and Saturday to conclude the tournament.
With Jessica Mitchell (21 points, 10 rebounds, five steals) doing her offensive work inside and her sister Sarah Mitchell (nine points) helping fill the scoring column, the rest of the squad works in other ways: lockdown defense, crisp passes, and hitting the occasional open shot.
They also are responsible for finding the Mitchells for easy points.
Thursday, Fennell scored the first points of the game with her 3 from the wing and nearly hit another to end the first quarter off a nifty fade screen play.
Briana Classen added a short-corner jumper in the second quarter while Weiser (two points) and Leslie Classen caused havoc on the defensive end.
Dallas kept the game with Churchill (ranked No. 8 in the Oregon School Activities Association through Friday) close, tying the game with four minutes to play in the third quarter, but was unable to finish late. The Lancers used buckets off their press break and then slowed their offense in the final minutes to keep the Dragons at bay.
Dallas coach Dave Brautigam knows his team can do much more than compete, however.
"I just keep telling our kids that they're going to have to have a chip on their shoulder every single night," he said. "They have to find a way to stay motivated and they're going to start having a target on their heads.
"People are recognizing that we're having some success and we're winning some games, so they're coming to this tournament to beat us."
As Dallas works to strengthen its mental game, the Dragons' contributing sophomore class -- which includes starters Eva Ronco and Makenzie Davis -- can only get better.
"They're getting there," Brautigam said of his young players. "I think it's just a matter of them having a big game to get that confidence going forward."
In Friday's victory, Jessica Mitchell led the way with 18 points, Sarah Mitchell added 12 points and Fennell had eight points to lead Dallas.
Saturday, Jessica Mitchell led the way over Wilsonville with 17 points as Dallas improved to 7-2 on the season.
Lebanon at Dallas*
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
*Mid-Willamette Conference opener