Dorian Albritton expected to be a role player when his season at Davidson Day began.
But unexpected injuries thrust him into a much bigger role for the Patriots. Albritton responded well to the challenge.
The Junior, who's in his second year at Davidson Day after spending his first year at Lake Norman, said he left his all on the floor all season - whether as a starter or a bench player. That mentality is something that was instilled in him by his family.
"We try to be the best that we can be regardless of what anybody else is doing," said Albritton. "I'm always trying my best."
The 17-year-old, who averaged 9.3 points a game this year, was at his best to help the Patriots (22-10) earn a monumental first win against nationally ranked rivals United Faith Feb. 17.
Albritton had a season-high 27 points, as Davidson Day upset the Falcons 74-71, avenging a 39 point loss two weeks earlier.
"It was a very good feeling," the 6-foot-4 forward said. "Now they know that it's not just a one-sided thing - that we can play with them."
Albritton said his improved play this season may have come from playing with a lot more intensity.
"I try to do the dirty work," he said. "I guess I'm just a banger."
Davidson Day coach Ron Johnson thinks his improvement came from his all-around, versatile game.
"He shoots the ball well from the outside, posts up inside, drives to the basket," said Johnson. "He's also become a much better defender."
But the second-year Patriot coach said Albritton's leadership may have been just as important as his play.
"Dorian's always done what he's supposed to do," he said. "This year, he made an assertive effort to speak up and be more vocal."
Johnson added Albritton's leadership was something his team needed, especially with the injuries and the downs the team played through.
"Sometimes they need to hear more than just the coach's voice; they need to hear from guys within the teams," he said. "(Dorian)'s provided that good voice."
Albritton has come a long way since coming into the Patriot program two seasons ago.
After playing for the Wildcats, Albritton said it was challenging to learn the groundwork of Johnson's system. That was only part of a major transition Albritton went through at his new school.
"There were a lot of things that changed, but they were for the better," he said.
Albritton thought his play last year was good, but he wasn't satisfied.
With Furman commit Keith Belfield enrolling at Davidson Day during the offseason, Albritton expected to play less minutes this year. But because of a nagging knee injury, Belfield only played in six games, allowing Albritton to step up and fill his spot.
Belfield's injury wasn't the only one Davidson Day had this year. Senior forward Bernard Sullivan, who's headed to play at Clemson next season, missed some games while fellow North Mecklenburg transfer Philip Anglade missed the second half of the season after tearing his ACL in late December.
But the Patriots weren't making excuses.
Albritton said the team, which wrapped up its season last week losing 71-56 to Trinity Christian in the second round of the NCISAA 1A playoffs, didn't play up to their potential this year
"We could have been a lot better," said Albritton. "I don't think we've played to the ability we're capable of. We showed it in spurts, but we have to consistent."
Johnson said inconsistency had a lot to do with adjusting to the six newcomers the team had this season.
"It's taken a while for things to kind of gel," said Johnson. "I guess I didn't anticipate that. Everywhere I've been, year two goes a little smoother ... but with the number of new players it still felt like year one at times."
Now the focus for Albritton shifts to improve for next season, as he continues to get college attention. Boston University, Western Carolina and George Mason are some of the schools interested in Albritton.