The Dixon girls expect to be seeded in the middle of the pack in the Frisco League Conference as the season gets underway but that won’t deter the Lady Bulldogs. They fully expect to be competitive.

“We have the potential be very competitive,” said new head coach James Thompson.  Well, Thompson is not exactly new to basketball. He’s just new to this year’s Dixon team. After all, he’s been teaching for several years in the Dixon R-1 Schools and, before that, he coached 13 years of high school basketball. And, going back even further, he coached college basketball at both East Central Community College in Union, Mo, and at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. He replaces Cole Garnette who is now the head coach at Iberia.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the season last year with a 13-12 record, 4-4 in conference play. They will have nine returning lettermen, three of them starters. Senior Tressa Hughes was First Team All-Conference last year and also Dixon’s leading scorer averaging 15.1 ppg. She will be surrounded by two other returning starters, junior Tayler McKinnon and sophomore Amy Wade. McKinnon averaged 5 points per game and Wade averaged 6 ppg. And these three returning starters should have a very capable supporting cast of players. 

There are six others returning with varsity experience. Returnees will be juniors Jordan Aranjo and Lauren Gilbert, sophomores Izzy Thiltgen, and Khloe Irvin. Senior Mackenzie McCance and sophomore Payton Ramsey were each out some last season due knee injuries and are expected to return at some point this season.

Dixon lost two key players to graduation. They were Madison Duncan and Megan Gilbert. Duncan averaged about 9 points a night while Gilbert tossed in approximately 8 per game.

For the upcoming season, there are a total of 12 players that will make up the team. A new player to the squad will be freshman Brooke Sinclair. She was a standout in middle school and Thompson is hoping she can quickly make the transition to high school basketball.

“She’s a very good all-around player who usually can be found in the gym in her spare time,” he stated. “We’re looking forward to her being on the high school team.”

Other than Sinclair, the other players are all returnees. The 5’7” Hughes will be a team leader as she “brings a lot of playing experience to the floor,” the head coach continued.

As for McCance, she’s 5’9” and is a “dedicated, hard-working player. Mckenzie should be a strong asset to us, once she gets back to 100%.” McKinnon, at 5’5”, is a “tenacious defender and is very quick. Tayler is just a great point guard. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in basketball IQ.” As for the 5’5” Wade, “she is another great defender and also a good scorer. Amy works hard and is steadily improving. And that’s good to see.”  Thiltgen is 5’10” and “can be a real force inside. She too continues to work hard and is never satisfied with where she is at the moment. By that, I mean she wants to be improving daily.” The 5’6” Gilbert “is a great shooter, defender and all-around player. She really has the potential to be a strong leader for us too.” Koch (5’10”) is going to be “our unknown inside presence. She is much improved from last year and still strives to be better.”  Irvin (5’7”) is a “great defensive player. She can also shoot the basketball well.” Aranjo (5’5”) is “another hard-working defender that we have.” The 5’6” Ramsey, coming off that knee injury, believes she is at about 70% right now, but getting a little better each day. “Payton saw some varsity time last year as a freshman and that will only help her this season.” And Coborn (5’5”) has not played since middle school. “But she’s a hard worker. She is going to be a tough defender. She’ll have some catching up to do. She just needs gym-time.”

As for the team as a whole, “I think we’ve got a mix of youth and experience,” Thompson said. “We’ll be in good shape and we’re going to play a lot of defense. We’ll be able to push the ball but also play with discipline when we need to. We have six or seven players that can shoot the basketball with authority. Plus, we have a little size so we can be tough inside too.” Right now, the head coach feels he has a solid team where “I could just about put any five players on the floor and compete,” he added. “I know it’s early, but this could be one of the better teams in my high school coaching career that I’ve had to work with.”


2017-18 Dixon Lady Bulldogs basketball schedule

Date           Opponent                      Site             Time
17-18               Frisco/ShowMe Shootout         Waynesville      TBA
21                    Steelville                                   Away               6:00
25-Dec 02       Frisco League Tourney Laquey             TBA
05                    Richland                                   Away               5:00
07                    Newburg                                  Home               6:00
11                    Eldon                                       Away               6:00
12                    Bourbon                                   Away               5:30
18                    Iberia                                       Away               6:00
19                    Blair Oaks                                Home               6:00
21                    Belle                                         Away               6:00
04                    Crocker                                   Away               6:00
05                    Plato                                        Away               6:00
08-13               Richland JV Tourney                Away               TBA
08                    Laquey                                     Away               6:00
15-20               Osage Tourney             Away               TBA
29                    Cuba                                        Away               6:00
30-Feb 03       Newburg Tourney                    Away               TBA
05                    Conway                                   Home               6:00
12                    Licking                         Home               6:00
15                    Stoutland                                  Away               TBA
TBA                 District Tourney                        Away               TBA