DARKE COUNTY – A pair of versatile basketball players who also are among the area’s best scorers are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Franklin Monroe boys basketball player Ethan Conley and Tri-Village girls basketball player Allie Downing.
In games against Ansonia last week, Conley averaged 24 points for Franklin Monroe.
In a win against Ansonia he had a double-double with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Then against Tri-Village Conley scored 19 points while also pulling down six rebounds, dishing out three assists and throwing down three dunks.
Led by Conley, Franklin Monroe has started the season strong with a 6-1 record.
With Downing’s leadership, the Tri-Village girls also have gotten off to a strong start with a 10-0 overall record and 5-0 mark in the Cross County Conference.
“I think she sets the tone with her work ethic,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “I think she’s a kid who’s extremely competitive, who works extremely hard to get the most of her abilities.”
This season Downing leads all Darke County girls with 19.6 points per game. She’s also in the top five in the county with 7.5 rebounds a game and 3.3 assists a game.
“She’s been playing really well, doing exactly the things that we’ve come to expect her to do,” Gray said.
Downing scored 20 points against Ansonia and reached the 1,000 point mark for her high school career in that game.
“That’s kind of the standard for scorers. That 1,000 point mark is what everybody shoots for as a scorer,” Gray said. “It shows that not only has she been a good scorer for us but she’s done it over a long time. She’s been big time player for us here now for four years.”
While Downing’s scoring numbers jump out, it’s her versatility that makes her special. She can play inside or outside, taking on a number of roles including post and point guard. She can distribute, rebound and defend.
“All those intangible things really are where the value is for us,” Gray said.
Downing will use that versatility next year at Belmont Abbey College, where she is committed to play college basketball. Belmont Abbey views her as a stretch four.
“I think that’s obviously the strength of her game,” Gray said. “I think that’s what made her appealing to college coaches, her versatility.”