Erica Dawson has been an offensive and defensive standout on the hardwood for the past two varsity seasons.
Not surprisingly, the 5-foot-9 Marietta Tiger gets all kinds of attention from opposing defenders when she possesses the basketball. Stop her if you can.
Thing is, Dawson has been getting noticed off the court as well by numerous colleges and universities around the country. While being recruited is very flattering, she would prefer to focus and channel all her energy on playing basketball in her senior season at MHS.
The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Erica Dawson, third from left, signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball and continue her education at Xavier University after she graduates in the spring. Sitting, from left to right, are Trent Dawson (brother), Christi Dawson (mother), Erica Dawson and Tori Dawson (sister). Standing, from left to right, are Chad Rinard (assistant principal), Steve Denton (assistant coach), Terry Wallis (JV and assistant coach), Glenn Dawson (father), Scott Cozzens (head coach), Mark Hannuksela (freshman coach), and Rick Guimond (athletic director).
Times file photo
Erica Dawson (22) drives to the basket during court action last season.
So, Dawson has made a decision to commit to a school of higher education early instead of later.
On Wednesday in the lobby of Sutton Gym on the campus of Marietta High, Dawson signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball and continue her education at Xavier University in Cincinnati after prep graduation in the spring of 2013. Also present were parents' Glenn and Christi Dawson, younger brother Trent Dawson, younger sister Tori Dawson, Marietta head coach Scott Cozzens, JV and assistant coach Terry Wallis, athletic director Rick Guimond, assistant principal Chad Rinard, freshman coach Mark Hannuksela, and assistant coach Steven Denton.
"I just really fell in love with the campus on my visit," Erica Dawson said. "The coaching staff is amazing.
"Basically, I wanted to go into a program that was family-oriented, and they definitely are. Their team is like their family, and that's what I wanted."
The Amy Waugh-coached Musketeers are an NCAA Division I school and a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"Coach Waugh does a great job," Dawson said. "She's from Xavier, and that's where her heart is, and all the coaches are really involved - and I just love it.
"I'm ready to go there and challenge myself and see what happens. I couldn't be happier with my decision."
Needless to say, Xavier is getting a good one in Dawson, who is undecided on her major.
"When she gets down there at Xaver, they're going to be able to do things that we can't help her with," Cozzens said. "I'm really looking forward to watching her playing, and blossom at that level. I think she's going to become a real force down there. I really do."
Last season as a junior, Dawson was both an All-Ohio Division II first-teamer and Co-Player of the Year.
"Unbelievable!" said Cozzens after the All-Ohio announcement was made. "We were hoping 'E' would make first team, but Player of the Year, that's quite an honor when you think about all of the schools and players in Ohio."
It is believed that no other Lady Tiger basketball player has ever been honored as a first-team all-stater, let alone Player of the Year.
Dawson actually shared Player of the Year with Carroll's Kelly Austria Day and Clyde's Amanda Cahill.
What a junior season Dawson enjoyed, helping Marietta post a 19-5 overall record and advancing to the regional tournament semifinals at Zanesville High, where it bowed out to Jonathan Alder, 70-60. During the 2011-12 campaign, Dawson set the school's single-season scoring record of 714 points, or an average of 29.7 markers per game. During one contest at Meadowbrook in Byesville on Jan. 14, she tallied a single-game school mark of 52 points, which broke her own standard of 40 set against Alexander. In early February, she eclipsed the 1,000-point career milestone in a contest at Dover.
Going into her senior season, Dawson is fifth on the all-time list with 1,163 career points, and is 220 markers shy of breaking Shawna Daugherty's school mark of 1,382.
An all-around basketball player, Dawson also collected 192 rebounds, dished out 79 assists, and had 167 steals. From the foul line, she was 173 of 221, and from 3-point land, she had 83 treys.
Before being named first team All-Ohio and Player of the Year, Dawson was the Ohio District 13 Player of the Year and East Central Ohio League (ECOL) player of the Year. As a sophomore, Dawson was a third-team All-Ohio honoree, averaging 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 4.0 steals per game. She was also the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) Player of the Year.
When Dawson was an MHS junior, she was the top female runner on the cross country team, and also competed on the track and field squad in the spring.
This fall, Dawson decided to forego cross country and concentrate on getting stronger in the weight room.
"Another thing I like about Xavier is that it's close," Dawson said. "It's four hours away. It's far enough to be away, but I can get home quickly if I need to. So, I'm happy about that also."
Added Cozzens, "I'm happy for her. The kids are happy for her."