Hard work paying off for Stonewall Jackson’s Dotson

Stonewall's Nick Dotson fires a shot between a pair of Page County defenders in December. Dotson became the fifth player in school history to score 1,000 points, just one of the highlights of his 2017-18 season. Rich Cooley/Daily file

QUICKSBURG — Nick Dotson is being rewarded for his work ethic this season.

The Stonewall Jackson senior boys basketball player leads the area in scoring this year, averaging 24 points per game.

“I’m a little bit surprised at how much I’m scoring,” Dotson said. “But at the same time as much as I get shots up and just work, and constantly think about basketball, it’s kind of like it makes me think OK this is not as surprising. Because the harder I work the more, I expect better results.”

Dotson said that he tried to work some over the summer on ball handling and getting shots up.

Dotson said that he also participated in open gyms once golf season had finished and he also shoots during lunch at the school sometimes just to get extra work in.

First-year Stonewall Jackson coach Jim Sanders said Dotson has a great work ethic.

“If he doesn’t have a good game or doesn’t feel like he’s had a good practice, shooting wise, he’ll stay after (to shoot more),” Sanders said. “He’s a self-motivated kid in terms of you don’t have to to tell him to get more shots up. He lives in the gym.”

All of that work ethic paid off in Dotson securing a school record earlier this season.

Dotson broke the Stonewall Jackson single-game scoring record with a 38-point performance against Luray on Dec. 8. Dotson said he hit seven 3-pointers in the game, a 65-63 loss. The record was 37 points.

“Against Luray I felt like every shot that came out of my hands was going in,” Dotson said. “…I was definitely satisfied with how I was able to shoot the ball and score. I don’t know if I will be able to top that.”

Dotson’s strong night against Luray came in part because of his work ethic prior to the game.

Dotson scored 36 points on Dec. 5 against Wilson Memorial. Dotson said his teammates joked with him after the game about coming up a point short of the record, especially since he had an off night at the free-throw line. Dotson said he worked really hard the next few days on his free-throw shooting and that helped to get him the record.

Dotson, who also plays golf and baseball at Stonewall Jackson, said he also couldn’t have gotten the record without help from his teammates and coaches.

The 6-foot Dotson not only leads the area in scoring, but also in steals (3.2 per game). He is also averaging 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and is second in 3-point field goal percentage (33.8 percent).

Dotson said 3-point shooting is the one thing he wanted to really improve coming into this season and it’s worked out well.

Dotson can do a little bit of everything on the floor for the Generals. He can drive to the basket, hit the mid-range jumpers, score inside the paint and now hit the 3-point shot effectively. Dotson said being so versatile is a big advantage.

“When the defense knows everything you’re going to do, it makes it a lot tougher to get you to the spot you want to be at,” Dotson said. “But if they’re not sure what you’re going to do or how you’re going to attack them then you’re going to have them on their heels and you can take advantage of them.”

Sanders said Dotson is a great role model for the other players, and is always trying to help his teammates get better.

Doston said one of his biggest goals for the rest of the season is trying to reach 1,000 points for his career.

The Generals lost a lot from last year’s team, and have a young squad this season.

They are off to a 4-8 start, but every team in Region 1B is automatically qualified for regionals. Last year the Generals baseball team struggled some in the regular season, but then went on a run and made it to the Class 1 state final.

Dotson said he’s hoping the basketball team can do something similar to what the baseball team did last year.

“I know we have the talent and the coaching,” Dotson said. “And I think as long as we have the desire we can certainly do it. That will be exciting to see how it unfolds.”