There was a special delivery to the Mosley home on Christmas Day 17 years ago.
"My mom said I'm the Christmas child," said Alisha Mosley, a senior at Mount Hebron. "I was her Christmas present the year I was born because I came home Christmas Day."
Alisha Mosley was born Dec. 23, 1978. She grew up like a lot of girls, taking ballet, tap and gymnastics.
But at 6, the dancer wanted to dribble. She wanted to quit ballet. Her mother, Vicky, said no, and for two more years she danced. Then she quit, leaving her mother with a recital costume that never was used.
Vicky wanted her three children to become an engineer, a lawyer and a doctor. Alisha's oldest brother, Andre, 26, is an engineer. The middle brother, Austin, 19, is studying engineering in college. Both went to college on academic scholarships.
What about the ballet dancer who wanted to dribble?
She got her wish.
During middle school her father, Allen, who doubled as her basketball coach, made her dribble around their Randallstown home using her left hand. She dribbled four blocks. Twice around. Even during the winter.
Now she's a gifted basketball player and an excellent student (3.8 GPA). Virginia, a perennial women's basketball power, offered her a scholarship. But because of time constraints, she felt pressured into making a decision she wasn't ready to make. She said no.
Last month, she said yes to a full scholarship from Wake Forest, not an ACC power but a team -- and a campus -- she feels comfortable with.
"I don't see Alisha coming in and starting," said Wake Forest coach Karen Freeman. "But I do anticipate her getting significant playing time.
"She's the type of player that can have a double double, that's double-figure assists and points. She has that kind of potential."
Mosley always has had potential. And the desire. And the love for the game.
She realized in eighth grade, when her AAU coach took her to watch Maryland play Virginia in a sold-out Cole Field House, how much she wanted to be the best.
"It was awesome," Mosley said. "I didn't expect all these people to come to a girls game. I didn't think it would be that popular. I said, 'I've got to do this. I want to play in the ACC. I want this attention.' "
She will play point guard in college, a position of control and attention, two things she enjoys. At Mount Hebron, she plays on the wing, or a shooting guard. The Vikings (1-1) need her to score points and she has, averaging 30 so far.
Centennial coach Dave Greenberg, who coached Mosley at Mount Hebron her freshman and sophomore years, said the summer after her sophomore season, when she played point guard for her AAU team, was a special one.
"She really blossomed then as a player. It was just a a matter of time," Greenberg said. "Alisha wanted to be a great player, and she did."
Still, Mosley didn't understand how good she was, or could be, until her final game last season when the Vikings lost in overtime to Bladensburg in the state semifinals.
"I just felt it was my game," said Mosley, who scored 32 points. "I could do whatever I wanted."
Mosley, working with new coach Pat Becker, averaged 19 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.7 steals and 4.6 assists last year. She was Howard County's Player of the Year.
"She's a better player this year," said Becker. "She's stronger and her decision-making is much better. She's really matured in that way."
Mosley first started playing when her father took her to brother Austin's basketball practices. She said her father wanted the boys to be basketball players. "A dad thing," she said.
But once she started playing, her father -- who loves basketball as much as his daughter -- gave her the direction and opportunities that made it possible for her to grow as a player.
And how she's grown. She has scored 776 points at Mount Hebron, and tomorrow afternoon she will add to that against C.M. Wright in her quest to reach 1,000. She wants to improve in every facet of the game, and along the way she wouldn't mind a county or state title.
Then it's time for college.
"I'm looking forward to going on my own," said Alisha, who will study physical therapy and sports medicine at Wake Forest.