DARKE COUNTY – Two underclassmen who have excelled individually to help produce great results for their teams are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Tri-Village girls basketball player Maddie Downing and Versailles boys swimmer Ryan Subler.
Downing leads the Tri-Village girls basketball team with 8.0 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 12.9 points per game, both of which are among the top five in Darke County.
“The thing that sets her apart from a lot of other bigs though is her ability to finish around the rim with both hands,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “She is shooting over 60 percent from the field this year and she is also a 72 percent free throw shooter so she is very efficient when it comes to scoring the ball.”
Downing’s play this season earned her first team honors from the Cross County Conference and the District 9 coaches team.
“Maddie has worked hard to improve her game, and that work has shown in the results that she has had on the floor this year,” Gray said. “To be honest, Maddie has improved more from her seventh grade year through her sophomore year than any kid that I recall coming through our program. She also has the gift that is unteachable in that she is a 6-footer so that has really helped her as well.”
Downing and the rest of the Lady Patriots are ranked in the Associated Press’ state poll and have advanced to the sectional championship of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
“Maddie also does a great job of drawing double teams when she gets the ball and has become very effective at passing it out of the double,” Gray said. “This has helped free her teammates up for good looking inside-out shots.”
With a couple years of high school basketball in front of her, Downing could become an even tougher matchup for opponents.
“Hopefully she will continue to develop these next two years the way she has over the past few,” Gray said. “If so, she will make some college coach really happy in the future and obviously our program will benefit tremendously from that as well.”
Subler helped Versailles’ boys 200 yard freestyle relay team qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state swim meet. The Tigers finished sixth with a time of 1:31.65 at the district meet to advance to state.
Along with being a strong freestyle swimmer, Subler has the third best 100 yard backstroke time among Darke County boys this season at 1:05.31. He qualified as an individual for the district meet in the event even though he’s only a freshman.
Subler also helped Versailles’ 400 yard freestyle and boys 200 yard medley relays qualify for districts.
At the Coldwater Cavalier Invitational, which is the unofficial Midwest Athletic Conference meet, Subler finished second in the boys 500 yard freestyle and fifth in the boys 50 yard freestyle, showing his versatility in sprint and distance events.
With Subler’s help, the Versailles boys won the Coldwater Cavalier Invitational.