At first glance, Loch Raven's Christy Dial hardly seems like a take-charge person. She walks softly and talks even more quietly. But when she steps on the court, she doesn't have to say a word. Her jump shot does all the talking for her.
For four years, Dial has been the Raiders' starting point guard, averaging 19.7 points and 4.7 assists this season. Since her freshman year, she has been coach Diane George's go-to person.
"She was a pretty mature basketball player when she came to me," said George. That maturity is credited by all involved to Christy's father, Alan. He started Christy's basketball career when she was 6, by coaching a recreation league basketball team in the area. Dial considers her father and her brother the people with the most influence on her game.
Last season, Dial led the Raiders to the Class 2A regional finals, where they lost to a strong Mount Hebron squad. Earlier they had lost a one-point decision to Class 4A Woodlawn for the Baltimore County championship.
This year, Loch Raven (12-1 overall) trails Towson (13-1 overall) by a half-game in Baltimore County's 1A-2A division. Each has a league loss, having split head-to-head meetings.
George doesn't hesitate to give Dial a lot of the credit for her team's success over the years.
"Christy leads in a positive way, helping out the younger players on the team," she said. "It's like having another coach out there."
That's not bad for someone who doesn't consider basketball her best sport.
Ask Dial and she will tell you that lacrosse is perfect for her.
"Something kind of clicked with me when I picked up a stick," she said.
Dial only began playing lacrosse in her freshman year, but already she has been chosen All-America twice and helped the Raiders to three straight Class 2A regional and state tournament championships. Dial is hoping to play next spring at Maryland, Loyola, or Towson State.
Dial hasn't limited herself to basketball and lacrosse. During the past four falls, she has tried her hand at soccer, field hockey and volleyball. All this has left her with very little time to pursue anything else in school.
"It's hard getting involved after school, because you're always practicing for a sport," she said.
George, who has coached Dial in both lacrosse and basketball, will be sorry to see her graduate in June. "She'll certainly be missed out there," George said. "She's really been the hub behind our success."