Hotzler: Richland's Johnson is a double-double machine for girls basketball team
Richland's Olivia Johnson is passionate about rebounding. That's why the junior girls basketball player spends hours perfecting her technique at the high school gym with her father, Scott. "My dad always says that you don't have to make 500 shots...
Richland's Olivia Johnson is passionate about rebounding.
That's why the junior girls basketball player spends hours perfecting her technique at the high school gym with her father, Scott.
"My dad always says that you don't have to make 500 shots to score 1,000 points," Johnson said. "But you really have to work to get 1,000 rebounds. They don't just fall into your lap."
What about 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds?
Johnson has already achieved those career milestones.
The 17-year-old is averaging about 18 points and 13 rebounds a game this season. She's helped Richland to a 10-4 record.
Johnson said she first began developing her rebounding skills as an eighth grader.
As the tallest kid on the court during most games, coaches gave Johnson a directive to pull down as many rebounds as she could.
That's it: Rebound, rebound, rebound. Don't worry about scoring, coaches told her.
At 5-foot-9, she's no longer the tallest player. However, the skills she honed as an eighth grader have helped her rip down rebounds over girls with significant height advantages.
"She's super competitive," Colts coach Brooks Dockter said. "She just wants to win. She got her 1,000th point and her 1,000th rebound and she really wanted nothing to do with it. She just wanted the win."
Now, back to Johnson's sessions with her father in the gym.
Olivia said her dad, who is a former Richland High School guard, has worked for several years with her on the proper way to position herself to win the rebounding battle.
Other than that eighth grade season, Olivia credits her dad's instruction with helping her develop her overall game.
"It's that quality time," she said. "There is not any pressure on you and no one is watching. You get to learn it all."
Over and over, Olivia and Scott go through the routine during those Sunday sessions.
The father teaches. The daughter soaks it all in.
Then Olivia shows what she's learned on the court.
"Once you get used to it, it's almost the same pattern every time," Olivia said. "If it's a long shot, it's probably going to be a long rebound."
Before you get to thinking she's just a rebounding machine, let's mention that Johnson scored 40 points in a win against Fargo Oak Grove this season.
She can score, too.
With help from Johnson's leadership, the Colts are back in the mix in District 2. Richland is 2-2 in district games.
"We've gone through some seasons where we've struggled," Dockter said. "But it's becoming a little bit of a bigger thing. We're starting to make some noise."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or email@example.com . Hotzler's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com