Cooper an energizer for DHSIn the three years 5-foot-10 senior Taylor Cooper has started for Dickinson High girls basketball team, she has played every position on the basketball court except for center — a position she admitted with a smile she doesn’t really want to play.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
In the three years 5-foot-10 senior Taylor Cooper has started for Dickinson High girls basketball team, she has played every position on the basketball court except for center — a position she admitted with a smile she doesn’t really want to play.
Cooper was the team’s starting point guard during her sophomore and junior years, but relinquished the position to sophomore guard Lillie Meduna to play more shooting guard and small forward this season.
“It was a privilege to start as young as I did,” Cooper said. “I watch Lillie and she’s in the same position I was. I try to encourage her when she makes a mistake, because it just comes with experience.”
Though Cooper isn’t always penciled in as the starting point guard, she has no problem returning to the position if needed. With Cooper being able to play four positions on the court, she’s capable of playing all 36 minutes.
“She’s got that heart of gold that she wants to win and she never wants to come out of the game,” Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. “She’s like the Energizer Bunny, because she keeps playing and she plays so hard.”
“I want to be in there,” Cooper added. “I don’t like coming out.”
Rachel Schroeder, a 5-9 senior post, said Cooper has been her point guard since the fifth-grade. Schroeder said she can tell what Cooper is going to do just by facial expressions.
“It’s nice to have that familiarity with the people on your team,” Schroeder said. “It’s good to have her be able to play a number of positions, because the more diversity you have makes it harder for other teams to predict what you are going to do or what you are going to run on the floor.”
Cooper is averaging 7.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game this season. She ranks first on the team in assists and steals and is she’s second in rebounds behind senior forward Ali Moody. The Midgets finished with a 7-12 overall record and 5-11 in the West Region.
In her three years at the varsity level, Cooper has yet to play in the Class A state tournament — an experience she hopes to fulfill in her final season with the Midgets, who have the No. 6 seed in the West Region Tournament and play No. 3 Bismarck High at 6:15 p.m. MST Thursday in the quarterfinals at the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibition Hall.
Cooper knows how well her team can play. The Midgets nearly knocked off then No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century on Jan. 8 and came close to toppling No. 5-ranked Bismarck High just 10 days later.
“If we can just get it together at WDA, we can be the team that took Century to overtime,” Cooper said. “We played really well against Jamestown last Thursday and if we can play like that, I think we can compete with anyone. We just have to be mentally focused.”
However, one area that has plagued the Midgets throughout the entire season has been turnovers. Dickinson averages 22.5 turnovers per game, while forcing its opponents into 16.2.
Cooper and company hope the turnover bug doesn’t bite Dickinson this weekend.
“WDA is all about who brings it and it doesn’t matter what seed you are,” Schroeder said. “You just have to come ready to play, take care of the ball and hope the score ends in your favor.”