Unlikely star leads Tigers to championship; Dippold succeeds on the court, in the class
January 05, 2005 - By STEPHEN GLOVER
For the Call
During the championship game of the Lutheran South Holiday Invitational, the Oakville High girls' basketball team needed a leader and once again, Stephanie Dip-pold was there.
The senior guard may not be the flashiest player on the team and she may not lead the Tigers in scoring, but she has an aura of confidence and determination that every coach wishes he could bottle and sell at the local sporting goods shop.
"As a senior, we expect a lot out of our kids because every team needs leadership," Oakville head coach Paul Harrington told the Call. "Stephanie provides us that leadership that we really needed this season."
That leadership is evident from how Dip-pold captains her teammates to the firm handshake that she gives to someone she's meeting for the first time.
The Tigers found themselves down 38-31 against Webster Groves in the fourth quarter of the championship game at Lutheran South. But it was Dippold who scored a season-high 16 points and five rebounds to lead Oakville to the 52-45 victory.
"In the championship game against Web-ster Groves, we really needed someone to step it up," Harrington said. "Stephanie gave us what we had to have late in the ball game in order to win."
The youngest of David and Mary Dip-pold's three children, Stephanie was a late bloomer in her introduction to basketball. It wasn't until sixth grade that she got involved with the Wohlwend Elementary basketball team, her first hoops experience.
"I started playing because they needed a player," Dippold told the Call. "I got really into it and started playing in a summer league in seventh grade."
Dippold joined the Firepower AAU basketball club in seventh grade where she gained valuable experience in summer league play.
"I played a lot of games through the summer league," she said. "I found that the more games I played, the better I became."
Dippold also is a member of Oakville's honor roll with a 3.7 cumulative grade-point average. She had been a clarinet player in the honor band for seven years but quit to concentrate on hoops.
Upon graduation, Dippold is hoping to major in forensic psychology and still have the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level.
"I think that she can definitely play at the college level," Harrington said. "I just need to match up her studies with the right program."
For the time being, she's just concerned about helping her teammates prepare for districts next month.
"We've improved and we just keep moving forward," Dippold said. "I think that coach Harrington has a lot of basketball knowledge and he really keeps us going. I love how we never give up."
Dippold and the Tigers play Parkway South at 7 p.m. today — Thursday, Jan. 6.