Midgets change offensive scheme, while hoping to cut down on turnovers
This season, Dickinson is hoping to curb its turnover rate by returning a handful of players with varsity experience.
“I give all the girls credit this past summer,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “Coach (Jay) Schobinger and I put together a program for the volleyball and basketball to lift and get stronger. They understand they are going to get bumped and pushed. Teams in the WDA are physical. The girls are focused in practice about making good decisions and making the easy pass, and not the great pass. We can’t have 30 turnovers because I don’t care what team you are, you aren’t going to win. But we can’t just focus on that either. We are going to have turnovers if we try and push the ball up the court. Sometimes it can be a good turnover, if the girls are being aggressive.”
The returners who saw varsity time for the Midgets are seniors Sydney Gangl (5-foot-11, forward), Avery Privratsky (5-10, forward), Riley Cooper (5-7, guard), Riana Cooper (5-7, guard), Sierra Rohr (5-10, forward) and Morgan Dukart (5-6, guard).
“I’m really excited for this season,” said Gangl, who finished with 7.7 points per game. “We can play really well together and I think we can surprise a lot of people.”
Also returning from last season is junior point guard Lillie Meduna, who stands at 5-5. The other junior returning with varsity experience is 5-10 forward Meryl Kovacs.
“Hopefully, another year of growing up a little bit will help her out a little bit,” Pender said of Meduna.
The newcomers for the Midgets are junior Olivia Rovig (5-6, guard) and eighth-graders Raegan Linster (5-9, guard) and Lexi Jordheim (5-9, forward).
Dickinson is also implementing a new offense. With an overall lack of true post players, the Midgets will use their speed and quickness.
Though Dickinson has a new offense, Pender said it should make up for the missing points from the graduated trio of Ali Moody, Rachel Schroeder and Taylor Cooper. Moody and Schroeder are playing volleyball collegiately at North Dakota State and Bismarck State College, respectively. The three players combined to average 35 of the Midgets 52.6 points per game.
“Right now, we have 11 (players) on our varsity and we are looking to play 11 deep,” Pender said. “We are looking to push the ball and put some pressure on. We aren’t very big, so we can’t really slow it down. The girls are really buying in to moving the ball up the court, putting pressure on and attacking. The girls like the run and gun. I’m know if they understand how condition they need to be, but we’ll find out when they start playing.”
Gangl added about the new offense: “So far, we are doing pretty good. We are getting the ball up the floor. We just need to limit our turnovers when we do and, if we don’t have anything, we just need to slow it down.”
The Midgets finished with a 7-14 overall record and lost the opening two games of the West Region Tournament to Bismarck High and Bismarck St. Mary’s. They allowed 62.2 points per game.
Pender is looking for the team to continually get better throughout the season and be playing its best during the West Region Tournament at the Bismarck Civic Center in March.
“This is a marathon,” he said. “It’s a long race and it’s a different season when you hit the WDA. We have to get better every game. Our goal should be going into the WDA tournament that we are controlling and handling the ball. We can shoot with anybody. We have a lot of shooters. We just have to make good decision and take care of the ball.”