WHITTEMORE – No, despite what the numbers might look like, Whittemore-Prescott senior point guard Dana Thorson isn’t a character you just created in the latest NBA Live video game. Thorson was able to make 112 three pointers this season, many of which from well-beyond the arc, good for third most all time in a single season in the MHSAA. Thorson also finished with 1,361 career points, most ever in the W-P boys’ program.
“I have always worked on my shot, I always felt like I was a shooter,” Thorson said. “I feel like I can make a shot anywhere on the court. Nothing really goes through my mind, I just shoot.”
It’s hard to argue with the results. Thorson was able to net an impressive 11 three pointers and 40 points in an early season loss to rival Tawas Area, only to out due himself with a school record 43 points in a 67-39 January win over AuGres.
“He is a kid that came into the gym and did a lot of shooting on his own,” his head coach Dave Mervyn said. “He just needed a small space and when he got his feet set he was pretty accurate. We set a lot of screens for him but the thing is he didn’t need a whole lot of space to get a shot off. He had a pretty quick release and so if he could get a crack or a sliver, he was able to get it off. He’s just a really great shooter.”
While Thorson was able to achieve some career milestones, the Cardinals went through some rough patches as a team this year however, finishing with just five wins.
“Dana was one of the few kids on our team that could score, we felt he had to score for us because points were hard to come by,” Mervyn said. “We were kind of in the unique situation that we needed him to score and that worked to his advantage. Had he played on a team with more scorers, he might not have had 112 three pointers.”
For Thorson, putting the ball through the hoop never got old.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like you can’t miss at all. Every time you see the ball go through the hoop it helps you feel a little more confident. You get an open look, you just want to take it.”
Thorson didn’t have to carry the scoring load on his shoulders early in his career. After playing on varsity a few games as a freshman, he was called up to varsity full time as a sophomore. He was part of talent-laden team that stormed their way to a regional championship appearance.
“My sophomore year we had a really good group of guys and I just wanted to contribute the best I could and play my roll, he said. “We had a lot of team success, a lot of guys wanting to work hard and just wanting to win.”
Despite putting up as many 11 three pointers in a single game, Thorson didn’t realize until recently where he was stacking up.
“I didn’t even know until about three-fourth of the way through the season that I was in contention for that,” he said. “Coach Mervyn told me how many threes I had and I looked at the records and saw I was close and I realize I had a chance to get into the record books so I just kept shooting for that. I feel like it’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
Thorson’s high school basketball career came to an end in their division three district semi-final loss to Rogers City. He scored 18 points in that contest, giving him just enough to break Kyle Colton’s career scoring record of 1359.
“I always dreamed of hitting 1000 points and thought the school record was in range too,” Thorson said. “With it being my last year, I felt I could do anything so I just worked harder, put in more hours in the gym and kept that in the back of my mind.”
While what he accomplished on the court was quite spectacular, his coach places what he did after the district loss at a high level as well.
“He thanked all of his teammates for supporting him,” Mervyn said. “He thanked them for coming to practice and working hard. It was a pretty good moment for us. He led us in every category, he is going to be tough to replace. He was a good kid to coach, he took to coaching, if we needed to make changes he was willing to do it and that’s good when your best player is willing to do those things.”
Thorson is hoping to take his talents to the college game as well, though he is still unsure where at this point.
“Growing up, I always wanted to play college basketball in some form,” he said. “I have been weighing my options a little bit, seeing what opportunities I have and what offers I can get. I haven’t had a lot of chances to get out and put work in (due to COVID-19 outbreak) but I think the biggest part is staying mentally ready and waiting for the right opportunity and taking it.”