By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– It’s weird to think 11 short years ago that Dakota Griffith was playing basketball at Hillsboro High School, or HilHi as some of the alumni like Griffith calls it, playing under Greg Edwards during his time as a Spartan.
But soon enough Griffith followed his Father Tim Griffith’s footsteps and entered the coaching realm after college. First initially as an assistant at Hillsboro before becoming a part of the coaching staff at Dallas High School last season for the Junior Varsity ranks. He was learning the ins-and-outs from the coaches above him as well as his Father as he takes over the Lady Dragons basketball program this season after Tim Ehlers stepped down after this past season.
And with how young this roster is this season with Dallas graduating a good chunk of their starting lineup like Jordan Dippel and Makayli Laizure entering this season, Emma Classen will be returning with a good amount of Varsity exposure entering this season for the Dragons.
“It’ll be a growing process to start, Emma Classen is a four-year girl. All-State in a couple of different sports, but she’s been the only one that has touched the floor for two hours of game time,” Griffith said of his Senior Guard. “It’ll be a learning curve, we set up a preseason to build confidence. But we’re going to key on our athleticism probably, we got a lot of athletes out here. Maybe five on roster that was on in a State final for softball a couple of years ago.
“So we are athletic. We’re just young and we’re inexperience. So we’ll be flying around looking like our heads are cut off sometimes. But once we get the ideas of like compete all the time and not worry about the scoreboard and everything else that the other team might be doing and just focus on us I think some relative success.”
While Classen brings that ‘Lead By Example’-approach to the court, Maddie Doig and Ruby Earhart will be the energy on the court in a way with how energetic the sophomore in Doig and the freshman in Earhart are on the court.
Earhart, unlike her more quieter and relaxed older brothers Treve and Tanner, showcased her energy with talking on the floor during a drill Friday morning that caught Griffith’s attention as the younger girls are beginning to lay that foundation of confidence by accepting their roles on the court.
“We got a good diverse group, we’ve actually got some younger kids who are our voices. You just saw Ruby down there in our zone, our little freshman sparkplug. Demanding voice,” starts Griffith. “Emma’s has always been a great leader, but the kind that leads by example instead of through her vocal range. So you kind of get this 12-sport Varsity athlete, this is how she runs things as a role model type, lead by example.
“Then you have some of the younger kids like Maddie Doig who will be a sophomore and Ruby who is a freshman, kind of take a vocal leadership to another level. I think that’s a big plus for us that we got girls who are confident in those roles of, ‘I don’t care I’m a freshman. I’m going to be vocal and we’re going to go by what I’m saying’ so a lot of fun to work with.”
As their first game of the season approaches with the three-hour bus ride up to The Dalles to open up the season Wednesday, Griffith is liking the confidence on the court already and is excited to see how they continue to develop as a program as they tip it off this upcoming week as they’ll have their first home game on December 4 versus St. Helens.