Boys basketball: Cooper leading Damonte Ranch

Boys basketball: Cooper leading Damonte Ranch

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Boys basketball: Cooper leading Damonte Ranch

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Everyone in the gym knows he’s the go-to guy, but Brett Cooper is still lighting up the scoreboard.

Damonte Ranch's Brett Coopper shoots against Wooster at Damonte Ranch on Tuesday.

Damonte Ranch’s Brett Coopper shoots against Wooster at Damonte Ranch on Tuesday.

Cooper, a four-year varsity basketball player at Damonte Ranch, is averaging 20.2 points per game, tops in the north. He has made 59 3-pointers and hit 58-of-68 from the free throw line (85 percent).

He needs eight more 3-pointers to set the season record at Damonte and his free throw percentage will also be a school record.

All while toiling for a struggling team still trying to mesh under first-year coach DJ Moore. The Mustangs are 5-13 overall, 3-6 in the Northern Division I.

He admits the season has been a little frustrating, but seems to relish the challenge.

“It’s been a struggle with a lot of changes, but there’s a lot of learning curve with a new coach,” Cooper said. “We have a lot of new players and young players. It’s hard when teams can focus in on you. There’s not a lot of driving lanes and open shots.”

Cooper, (6-foot-0) also plays some point guard for the Mustangs, which hasn’t slowed his shooting ability. Over the offseason he learned to shoot better off the dribble, a tactic that can be difficult to master. He said long hours shooting by himself led to that ability.

Moore said Cooper also has improved greatly on defense.

“We need him to score to be successful. Everybody knows it and he still does a good job of it,” Moore said.

Moore, who started coaching him in the third grade, said his teammates are good at finding Cooper on the court and at setting screens for him.

In Damonte’s 76-71 win over North Valleys on Jan. 8, Cooper had 29 points, including 7-of-7 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Damonte has seven games remaining, starting Friday night at Douglas.

“If we can get on a roll, we’ll be all right,” Cooper said. “We have talent, but we just haven’t put it together.”

He said if all the players can play well at the same time, the Mustangs can beat any team in the north.

Moore agreed saying the team has shown flashes of great play but has been inconsistent.

“We’ve shown five minutes, or 10 minutes or a half of good basketball,” Moore said. “But we just haven’t been able to put together a stop and a score, a stop and a score.”

Cooper plays on the Wolverines club team for coach Jose Parra and Dustin Hall. Cooper said he improved just by being in the gym constantly and putting up a lot of shots.

His older brother Grant Cooper played football and basketball at Damonte, graduating in 2014. Brett said they get their athleticism from their grandparents.

“I feel like I’m just kind of a short white guy, but (athleticism) runs in the family a little bit,” he said. “My grandparents are all pretty tall, and they’re all military guys. That’s where we get our stubborn toughness, we want to compete and be successful.”

Cooper hopes to play basketball in college and said he’s getting some interest from Division II schools. He prefers to stay on the west coast. He has a 4.2 weighted grade point average and hopes to study business and marketing.

Friday

Boys basketball: 7 p.m., Hug at McQueen; Reno at Reed; Spanish Springs at North Valleys; Carson at Bishop Manogue; Damonte Ranch at Douglas; Galena at Carson; 7:30 p.m., Truckee at Sparks.

Girls basketball:  5:15 p.m., Hug at McQueen; Reno at Reed; Spanish Springs at North Valleys; Carson at Bishop Manogue; Damonte Ranch at Douglas; Galena at Carson. 6 p.m., Truckee at Sparks; Spring Creek at South Tahoe.

Boys Basketball Standings

(As of Jan. 18)

North Division I

High Desert

Reno 8 1

McQueen 6 3

Spanish Springs 6 3

Reed 3 6

North Valleys 2 6

Hug 0 9

Sierra League

Carson 9 0

Bishop Manogue 6 2

Douglas 5 4

Galena  4 4

Damonte Ranch 3 6

Wooster 1 8

Girls Basketball

North Division I

High Desert

Reno  8 1

McQueen 8 1

Reed  5 4

North Valleys 5 3

Spanish Springs  3 6

Hug 0 9

Sierra League

Bishop Manogue  8 0

Damonte Ranch  6 3

Douglas 4 5

Carson 4 5

Wooster  1 8

Galena 1 8

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