Barrett, Dixon give Lady Cats depth in different roles
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 6, 2004 -- When coach Carin Hoffman turns to her bench on game nights, she has the luxury of bringing in a pair of seniors who can make a difference.

Sara Barrett and Cristie Dixon both have roles on the Lady Cats' team that make them valuable contributors.

Barrett bucketed a season-high 17 points on Tuesday, though she is normally known for her defense, while Dixon is second on the team in 3-pointers made and attempted.

"They both have roles to play on the team, and they have both made contributions," Hoffman said of the pair. "They've done a good job for us."

Together, they are averaging about nine points per game. Dixon, putting in about 4.5 points per game which is fourth best on the team, has also made 13 3-pointers, which is second-most behind Brandi Crouch. Barrett, is fifth in scoring on the Lady Cats with a 4.4-average, and is also third on the team in assists at about 1.6 per game.

Their roles are as different as the girls.

Barrett is one of the tallest girls on the team at 5-11. She has used her height and jumping ability to make two trips to the regional high jump competition in track and was a starter in volleyball.

The only child of Mike and Debbie Barrett, Sara uses her athletic ability as one of her best assets. She was honorable mention All-District last year in her first season on varsity.

"Sara's very athletic. She can jump well," Hoffman said. "That's what I like to get from her is defense, rebounds, long arms in the passing lanes. Defense, I think, is one of her strengths.

"In a few games, she's come in and done some scoring, like the other night when she had 17. I'd like to see her do more of that in the second half of district because she has a pretty shot. She has a beautiful shot. She just has to have confidence in it, believing in herself."

Dixon, meanwhile, is a shooter first and foremost. She's the youngest of five siblings to Gene and Sherry Dixon, and having played basketball since the fifth grade, makes no excuses for liking the long ball.

"Shooting is my role. I work on shooting most of the time," Dixon said. "I try to be the spark off the bench to get a couple of points. The 3-pointer is my favorite shot."

That's OK with Hoffman, who agrees that Dixon's scoring ability gives her teammates confidence in her.

"Cristie is our sharpshooter. She's a 3-point shooter from the outside. That's her strength - shooting," the coach explained. "Offensively, the whole team believes she can shoot the ball. Even if she misses a few, they want her to continue shooting the ball because they believe in what she can do."

Dixon is also an outfielder on the varsity softball team, and she believes the success both programs have had in the last few years can mirror each other.

"I think (success) carries over. You have different roles for different teams, and you learn to accept all your roles, and you work with different people," Dixon said. "If you're on a good team, you know they're disciplined and you can carry that discipline over to the next sport to be good."

Both girls are aware that with a 3-3 district record, the Lady Cats may have to win the rest of their games to get in the playoffs. They're prepared to give it a shot after Tuesday's 40-point win over Paris.

"We kind of used last night's game as a way to work on some things. Hopefully, that will carry over to Friday's game and the rest of the season," Barrett said. "We have to pretty much win every game to get in the playoffs. We all have to be working together. We can't have one person down and one person up. We have to all be working as a team."

Dixon concurred, "We have to work hard to get to the playoffs. We have to play with our hearts."

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