NWC’s Petties Enjoying Her Time In The Basin
Asked how she describes Powell and Northwest College to her friends back home, NWC sophomore and Denver native Dallas Petties thinks for a moment, then laughs.
”I tell them they should come see me,” Petties said. “I don’t think they realize how small it is, I really don’t. I tell them, ‘It’s so small,’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’”
Petties, a standout on the basketball court for the Lady Trappers the past two seasons, attended 5A powerhouse ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, a suburb of Denver. The school boasts an enrollment of over 2,000 students; for a bit of context, NWC’s fall enrollment stood at 1,677. ThunderRidge’s Grizzlies and Lady Grizzlies have won multiple state titles in just about every sport. The 2016 Lady Grizzlies hoops team, of which Petties was a member, won the school’s fourth state title in girl’s basketball.
It’s safe to say there are some athletes roaming the halls of ThunderRidge High. And it’s that athleticism, being able to stand out on a team full of stars, that caught the attention of Lady Trappers head coach Janis Beal.
“Her athleticism, definitely,” Beal said of the reason she recruited Petties. “She just brings a whole different dimension to our team that you don’t always get — just being athletic, rebounding, she’s as quick as anybody.”
But getting Petties to Powell was not a foregone conclusion; had former high school teammate Jessica Lohrenz not been playing for NWC at the time, Powell most likely would never have made Petties’ radar.
“I don’t know if she would have came without Jessica’s help, so we got lucky on that,” Beal explained.
Petties began playing basketball in the fourth grade at the local Y. She developed an interest in the sport like most kids do, through the participation of a sibling. But her story had an unusual twist.
“[Petties] got into the game only because her younger brother was playing,” Beal said. “Usually the younger one starts to play because the older one plays; here it was the opposite.”
Living in an urban area, opportunities to play were plentiful; by the time a player reaches high school, basketball has become a year-round activity. Petties said she enjoyed all the different club and rec teams she played on, as well as the diversity of the players she played with and against.
“It was just fun,” Petties said. “I liked meeting a lot of people from different areas. In Colorado, I lived in a basketball community, so you know kids in your district, out of your district, boys and girls everywhere. My league was pretty good, the girls I played with and against in high school were all really good.”
After a successful freshman season at NWC, Petties has continued to put up impressive numbers so far this season. Heading into Wednesday’s meeting with Casper College, she was averaging 9.6 points per game and was second on the team with 191 points. Petties is also averaging 4.7 rebounds a contest.
“I think I’ve grown a lot, matured a lot more then how I was when I first came [to NWC],” Petties said. “I’ve gotten a lot more attention from my coach. Before, time was always limited with coaches on my other teams. I never got to really just play; I was always super nervous.”
As for adjusting to a small-town environment, Petties admits it was a bit of a culture shock when she first arrived, but she’s adjusted.
“I’m used to being around a lot of people, driving everywhere; a lot more places to go,” Petties said. “But I just really enjoy playing with my teammates and meeting a lot of different people. I never would have met any of my teammates outside of coming here.”
Coach Beal said any trepidation she may have had when Petties arrived quickly dissipated when she saw how she interacted with her teammates.
“It’s fun to have seen her growth as a freshman coming in — especially from a big city — and having to find a way to fit in as a person here, as an athlete,” Beal said. “It’s been great to see those changes and where she’s come. The girls think she’s fun. She gives us some life to the team, gives us a little rhythm. I think that’s a trait we need on our team.”
As her career at NWC begins to wind down, Petties is unsure of what the future holds, though she would like to continue playing basketball. As for what she’ll miss the most, it comes down to the people she’s met and relationships cultivated.
“I’ll miss how small the school is, and I’m going to miss playing with my teammates,” Petties said. “As a team, we’ve grown a lot from last year to now. ... And I like playing for coach Beal. She cares about you, not just as a basketball player, but as a person too.”
Despite a stumble against Miles Community College last weekend, the Lady Trappers are still poised to be the team to beat in the Region IX North, sitting on a 15-5 record and 3-1 in conference play. Petties said this year’s team is something special.
“My expectations are high; I think we’re going to do good,” she said. “We just have to keep growing and getting better at the little things that we struggle at.”