Ingalls' Whipple signs to play basketball at Dodge City C.C.
By BRETT MARSHALL
Tara Whipple, the 5-6 point guard for Class 1A-II state champion Ingalls' Lady Bulldogs, has signed a NJCAA letter-of-intent to play basketball next year for the Dodge City Community College Lady Conquistadors.
Whipple was an instrumental part of the team in leading the Lady Bulldogs to an undefeated season in her senior year, and was named to The Telegram's All-Area first team.
"We have truly enjoyed getting to know her over the course of the year and love what she brings to the court as a person and a player," Larry McDonald, DCCC women's coach, said of Whipple. "Tara does a great job being a floor general, seeing the floor and delivering the basketball to her teammates."
Whipple, the consummate point guard, averaged just 8.2 points per game, but came up with some of biggest point production in the Bulldogs' biggest games during her high school career, where she was a four-year starter for Roger Thurlow.
"We would not have been as successful as we were without Tara at point guard," Thurlow said earlier this year.
She averaged 4.4 assists, 2.7 steals, 2.3 rebounds in her senior season while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. She was a 69 percent free throw shooter. Perhaps one of the most compelling stats for Whipple was her assists to turnover ratio, where she handed out 93 assists while committing just 42 turnovers, a more than 2-1 ratio. In the 25 games for the Bulldogs, she was whistled for just 24 fouls. Her season highs were 16 points and nine assists. In many of the key games for Ingalls, Whipple played all 32 minutes.
"Winning the state championship was the greatest feeling in the world," Whipple said in her interview for All-Area honors. "After coming to state for the past two years and coming up short, it was a great way to finish my senior year holding the first-place trophy. While doing so, I was around some of the greatest teammates."
During her four-year career, Whipple was an honorable mention all-area selection as a freshman and sophomore and then earned second team all-area her junior season. A multi-talented athlete, Whipple also was a member of the 2012 Telegram All-Area volleyball team.
She plans to pursue a degree in athletic training and physical therapy.
"She displayed a tremendous amount of leadership throughout her career at Ingalls and we love that about her as well," McDonald said of his future player. "It is important for us to attract quality student-athletes that know how to win and she is just that, a winner on and off the floor."
Whipple had said earlier this year that basketball was the sport she hoped to play at the collegiate level. Now that dream will be realized.
Thurlow said that Whipple was one of the smartest on-court players he had been privileged to coach, and she will take that expertise to Dodge City next season.