Dorsey junior guard Princess Sparks helped the Dorsey girls basketball team go undefeated in the Coliseum League (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Since her freshman year at Dorsey, Princess Sparks has been playing on the varsity girls basketball team. As a junior, she helped the team reach the division II City Section championship. Being exposed to varsity competition early on challenged Sparks, but she learned to persevere through it.

“I was a little baby when I came here,” Sparks said. “I’ve definitely grown and I’m better than ever now.”

Sparks scored 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. With a mind to gain second-chance points, Sparks made 64 offensive rebounds during the season; twice the amount of her defensive boards.

In a February 67-58 victory against Chatsworth, Sparks registered her only double-double of the season by making 26 points 16 rebounds. That night, Sparks landed a season high of 13 offensive rebounds.

Out of 23 games, Sparks has scored in the double digits 10 times and scored over 20 points four times. Her scoring ability helped the Dons get a 16-7 overall record and an 8-0 league record. Sparks put in work on both ends of the ball, hitting a season high of seven steals both times Dorsey defeated View Park.

Sparks noted how her late father inspired her to play basketball.

“What got me into basketball is my father making me dribble the in the kitchen while watching him make macaroni and cheese,” she said.

During the fall semester, Sparks had a 3.8 GPA. Her favorite class is AP English, Sparks noted how she is able to take criticism from her teacher. While the Dons battled through the City Section playoffs, Sparks used the time before tip-off to study for the class.

“I read one [book] right before my game, “The Scarlet Letter,”” she said. “It’s going very well, if you don’t keep up, you will get lost.”

For Sparks, being a high performing student and athlete leads to late nights. Being surrounded by Dorsey alumni helps her with her workload.

“Dorsey has a lot of strong women who have went here,” Sparks said. “Knowing that my coaches have all played here [says] if they can do it, I can do it.”

Sparks is working to be secretary of her senior class next year. She is also a member of the Ladies Legacy program.

“Ladies Legacy is full of a group of women, strong women who not only help you while you’re in high school, they help you after high school,” Sparks said.

When she becomes an adult, Sparks wants to play basketball on the professional level.

“My future goal is to be a WNBA basketball player on the L.A. Sparks,” she said. “I’ve been loving them since I was a toddler.”

Sparks’ advice to young athletes to maintain a strong work ethic.

“Continue to work hard, don’t let nobody tell you different,” she said. “Go with your gut feeling. If you know you can do it, you feel like you can do it, you can do it.”

Do you know an athlete on honor roll who is a leader at their school? Email [email protected] to nominate your student. Cheerleaders and dance team members also qualify.