Sunday, December 08, 2013
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Central coach Julie McDonald, bottom right, talks to her team during a game this season.
March 13, 2013
The 5-foot-11 senior didn't slip under any team's radar this season -- opponents most certainly game-planned to stop her -- but that didn't deter Mitchell's success. She averaged a career-best 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.8 assists per game in 24 contests this season and was selected to the all-Mid-Willamette Conference first team for the first time. Although Mitchell -- who shot 59 percent from the field -- primarily scored from the block, she was also able to hit the outside jump shot and was a huge factor on the defensive end, as she led the Dragons in steals with 72. A four-year starter at Dallas, Mitchell finished her career with 1,128 points and 755 rebounds. "Everything I've challenged her with, she's stepped up to the challenge," Dallas coach Dave Brautigam said. "For her, it's just been about getting better and better, and a lot of that is because of her work ethic."
The 5-foot-8 senior wing finished as her squad's leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, but meant so much more to the 24-7 Pirates than just offense. The four-year starter was typically Perrydale's best rebounder as well as a major contributor in other areas such as steals and assists (final numbers were not made available). Barnes was also able to play any position on the floor -- she spent her first three seasons at point guard. "Brooke is the epitome of what a complete basketball player is," Perrydale coach Luke Lindell said. "She's kind of the model for that -- we want more kids to be like her from a skills standpoint." Barnes was named co-Casco League Player of the Year for her efforts and was selected to the all-tournament second team at the Class 1A state championships in Baker City, where Perrydale placed sixth.
The 5-foot-10 junior had her best season to date in 2012-13, averaging 13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 assists in her first year with the Panthers after transferring from Dallas. A threat from beyond the arc as well as a slasher inside, Pape was a tough matchup for most teams, as she led Central in free-throw attempts with 101 -- she made 64 of them. An Oregon West Conference second-team selection, Pape led a balanced Central squad in scoring with 342 points in 25 contests. "She definitely brought in an offensive mindset, so that was a plus," Central coach Julie McDonald said. "She became more comfortable off the dribble and she has a great outside shot and step-back (move). With her body manner, she looks slow, but she can slice through people and she can go with her right or left hand to the basket."
The 5-foot-6 junior made major strides for an improved Mountaineers squad this season, averaging a career- and team-best 12.2 points per game en route to earning second-team all-Casco League honors. Known for her outside shooting touch, Dixon added another dimension to her game this year that made her much harder to guard: the ability to take the ball to the basket. "She's tons better," Falls City coach Jeremy DePiero said. "She's a lot more confident, she drove to the basket more and she's a better defender." Dixon - who spent the entire season battling shin and calf injuries - missed five games due to a sprained ankle and was missed: Falls City won just one game in her absence. Dixon had her best game of the year in a 50-40 win over Alsea Dec. 28, when she scored a career-high 26 points.
The 6-foot-1 junior came into her own this season and showed major improvement for the Panthers down the stretch, averaging 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. A first-team all-Oregon West Conference selection, Cutsforth shot 61 percent from the field and tallied 26 steals. Her 123 rebounds were a Panthers-best. A physical presence inside, Cutsforth's biggest game this season came in a 76-23 thrashing of Stayton Jan. 25, when she pumped in 23 points and pulled down eight boards. "I think it was just a combination of confidence and performance," Central coach Julie McDonald said. "She was understanding the game better, flashing to the ball and stopped being a spectator. She wanted to be that go-to person."
The first-year Central coach and former All-American point guard at Western Oregon was able to get a young Panthers team to buy into her high-intensity defensive system quickly. After Central completed the preseason with a 9-4 record, the team took off in Oregon West Conference play, losing just twice, both times to league-champ Cascade. Central would go on to finish with an 18-7 overall record and finished 8-2 in the OWC, good for second place. The Panthers were one win away from reaching the Class 4A state tournament, falling at then-undefeated Sutherlin in the first round of the playoffs. Of the Panthers' seven losses, six came to teams that placed in the state tournament.
-- The 2012-13 all-Polk County girls basketball team was selected by Sports Editor Nicole Watkins, along with heavy input from area coaches.