Sports Spotlight on Dexter Werner | VideoJoey Whelan | 3/7/2012
"I enjoy it," the 6-foot-5 center says with a smile. "I`d rather go into a gym where it`s super intense. I`d rather have people yelling at me then play in an empty gym."
Drawing the ire of opposing fan bases has been all too commonplace for the Bismarck senior who led the WDA in scoring, rebounding and steals this season - averaging nearly a double-double in the process. Where he goes, the chants are sure to follow. The added attention bestowed on him when the Demons hit the road is hard to miss - those in the program have taken notice.
"It seems like a lot of people are always against him, but he uses that as motivation so it`s good for him," says fellow senior Devin Schirado.
"It`s just because of his size, not only that but the skill set he has with his size," adds longtime Bismarck High basketball coach Steve Miller. "I think the thing is though, he`s been able to maintain his poise through all of that."
That poise and the ability to withstand the pressures of being a marquee player in the state has allowed Werner and company to continue a longstanding tradition of winning basketball for the Demon program. Much as it is with successful programs at any level of the game - winning breeds a certain degree of contempt.
"When you`ve got a good team every year, every time you play someone you`re going to get their best shot," Werner says knowingly. "It`s going to be from the players and everyone is going to cheer harder against you."
That attention extends to opposing defenses as well. Since taking over as the focal point of Steve Miller`s offense in late 2010 as a junior, Werner has routinely dealt with double and triple-teaming schemes from the opposition. Early on it was apparent there was a learning curve for a big man not accustomed to the rigors of carrying an offense. But as Werner`s game has grown and been refined, so to has his ability to make his teammates better.
"Dexter draws like four people to him every time he touches the ball," Schirado says. "So as a shooter you`re going to get your open opportunities, you just have to connect when you get the chance."
Bismarck has connected more than a couple of times - finishing the season with a 19-3 record and a runner-up finish at the West Region Tournament. It should also be no surprise that some of the best perimeter shooting efforts in program history have come during Werner`s career. While credit is due senior Jaxon Fitterer for his record-tying 44 percent shooting mark on three-point attempts last season - many were on kick-outs from a double-teamed Werner.
Now, the senior center and his teammates have their eyes set one spot higher - on a state championship.
BACK TO SPORTS SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVE