By Jeff Nations
WOODSTOCK -- Mara Dorsey gets right to the point, a useful skill for a point guard.
The Massanutten Academy senior, like most of her teammates, isn't a basketball-first athlete. Dorsey's game is lacrosse, a sport she hopes to continue by trying out for George Mason University's team next year. Massanutten Academy doesn't offer that sport, though, so Dorsey adapted to her environment.
Just because basketball isn't her top choice doesn't mean Dorsey hasn't been giving 100 percent effort for the Colonels. Doing less than that simply would go against all that the Lorton native believes about herself.
"It's not hate losing, I just hate not trying and not doing the best that I could've done," Dorsey said. "I don't want to look back at a game and say, 'Wow, we got blown out by 30 and I didn't do anything. I just sat there.' I just want to make sure that everyone has that mentality that I do. It goes further than basketball. It's life in general."
Dorsey gave all she had for the Colonels in a grueling three-game stretch last week, twice leading the team in scoring and averaging double-digits over the three-game span to earn The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week honor for Feb. 2-8.
The production from Dorsey was outstanding, but nothing unexpected in the mind of first-year Massanutten Academy coach Ryan Byrne.
"She's a great dribbler, and she has great court vision," Byrne said. "When she's coming down the court, she can see plays half the time before the other girls can see them. She's made everyone else around her better. She has very good constructive criticism."
In a home game against Shenandoah Valley Academy last week, the Colonels flashed real potential when hitting on all cylinders. Dorsey provided the early scoring to give her team a solid lead, then started feeding teammates Chelsea Reid for a game-high 18 points and Selah Applin for another 12 points. Dorsey finished with 17 points of her own in the 54-37 victory.
"I'm a very competitive person, so I like to get a lead and then I can work with everyone," Dorsey said. "Once we get a comfortable lead, then everybody can work on what they need to work on for the next game. So then I started hitting Chelsea a lot more and let her do her magic."
The Colonels next came up short in a down-to-the-wire finish against rival Randolph-Macon Academy. With Dorsey notching a game-high 20 points, Massanutten Academy led most of the way before faltering in the final few minutes against the deeper Yellow Jackets in a 52-49 loss.
"I still have bruises from how rough that game was," Dorsey said. "Both teams worked really hard."
There was no time to rest, as another road game awaited the following day against Quantico. Dorsey again led the Colonels in scoring with 15 points, early foul trouble (three in the first quarter) limited her minutes in a 56-42 loss. Dorsey admitted that she and her teammates were basically on fumes after having battled with R-MA the previous day.
"It was really tiring, it really was," Dorsey said. "I was limping when I was on the court, but I wanted to play."
Dorsey always comes ready to play, and she does her best to make sure her teammates are just as prepared to lay it on the line.
"It's actually been a huge benefit to come here as a first-year coach and to have somebody like Mara who can do so many different things on the court," Byrne said. "And she's become a leader off the court, as well.
"I feel like me and her have had a good rapport with one another. She can tell me what she sees out there, and I can tell her things I need to see change and all that. I think it's been a good relationship."
Dorsey and Applin, both seniors, have provided the bulk of the leadership for the Colonels this season. With one game to go -- Senior Night against visiting Wakefield School on Monday -- Dorsey aims to give her best and get the same from her team.
"I tried my best -- I tried to motivate and direct," Dorsey said. "We've done a lot better than we probably would have this season."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>