DARKE COUNTY – A pair of Mississinawa Valley basketball players have earned Darke County player of the week honors.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Mississinawa Valley boys basketball player Devan Rinderle and Mississinawa Valley girls basketball player Kelsie Hunt.
Rinderle helped lead the MV boys to a 59-50 victory against Miami East, who entered the game ranked eighth in the state by the Associated Press. Rinderle was tasked with slowing down Damien Mackesy, which he did to help the Blackhawks hand the Vikings their first Cross County Conference loss of the season.
“He did such a great job of defense at Miami East,” Mississinawa Valley boys basketball coach Tim Barga said. “I think he’s one of the big reasons we ended up winning that game.”
Rinderle has been a defensive force this season with 50 blocked shots in 20 games.
“Every game it seems like his defense has always been there,” Barga said. “He intimidates people when they get around the basket.”
Rinderle is an all-around player for the Blackhawks as he leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
“He does everything,” Barga said. “He does a little bit of everything.”
Among Darke County boys, the Mississinawa Valley senior is second with 7.1 rebounds per game and second with 4.6 assists a game. He’s sixth in the county with 14.7 points per game.
“He does a good job game in and game out,” Barga said.
Rinderle is one of the top reasons why Mississinawa Valley is among the best teams in the CCC and has won seven of its last eight games. He can do so much for his team, even when he’s out of position.
“He’s really not a point guard, but that’s where we have to put him,” Barga said. “He does an excellent job at point guard. He sees the floor.”
Like Rinderle, Hunt has been a dominating force for Mississinawa Valley all season. She leads the Lady Hawks with 10.5 points a game and 9.0 rebounds per game.
“She’s been our heart and soul,” Mississinawa Valley girls basketball coach John Hershey said. “She’s the one person that’s in there almost the whole ball game. She’s our scorer, our rebounder. She’s been fairly consistent for the most part.”
Hunt’s nine rebounds a game are the most by any Darke County girl this season. The MV junior has matured and become more knowledgeable, Hershey said, which has translated to success on the court.
“I think it’s all about her learning the fundamentals,” Hershey said. “One thing she really picked up this year from last year is positioning.”
Hunt is almost always in the right spot.
“Kelsie is the one person I just don’t think about a lot,” Hershey said. “She’s there. I know she’s there. I know she’s going to do her job.”
Because of her dependability, Hunt is on the floor almost all of the time for the Hawks.
“She’s pretty much been there for us the whole time,” Hershey said. “I can’t say enough about her contributions to the team effort this year. She’s been there. She’s grown and learned the whole way. It’s really been a great year.”