NEW MADISON – Tri-Village senior Allie Downing will continue her basketball career in North Carolina as she committed on Thursday to play college ball for Belmont Abbey College.
Belmont Abbey is a NCAA Division II program located in Belmont, North Carolina.
“I’m really excited,” Downing said. “It’s going to be a new experience. I’m just excited to see what else I can do and to further my education and to get to play basketball while doing so. It’s going to be fun.”
Downing, the daughter of Scott and Rachelle Downing, said she plans to pursue a double major in accounting and business at Belmont Abbey. She was drawn to the school because it’s only about 15 miles from Charlotte, which will benefit her career aspirations, and she enjoys the Belmont Abbey women’s basketball team.
“It was a gorgeous city, and it was right next to Charlotte, and Charlotte is one of the biggest cities for accounting and business,” Downing said. “It just kind of all came together. And the team was awesome, and I like the coach. It all just was perfect there.”
Downing said it will be an adjustment being so far from home.
“I don’t know how I’m going to respond to being eight hours away, but it’s going to make me grow up a lot,” she said.
Downing anticipates earning playing time quickly for Belmont Abbey, who a year ago finished 8-21 overall and 7-15 in the Conference Carolinas. The Crusaders plan to use the 5-foot 11-inch Downing as a smaller post player who also can play outside.
“The place that she’s going I think likes to use the stretch four, which she can shoot it,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “I don’t know how much they’ll have her handle it, but if that’s something they need out of her I’m sure she’ll be up to that task. I think her versatility is what made her so appealing. Hopefully that will translate very well into the college game, and I think it will.”
During her college years Downing’s top goal is to help the Crusaders reach the NCAA Division II tournament. She also would like to become a 1,000 point scorer in college, a mark she’s close to achieving in high school.
Downing, a four-year varsity player for the Patriots, led all Darke County girls with 19.5 points per game last season while also contributing 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game.
“It’s always good to have players like this back. We’ve been fortunate to have her now this is going into year No. 4,” Gray said. “We certainly expect her to be an impact player for us again this year and hopefully lead us to some good things as a team.”
Having been very dedicated to the game, Gray said it’s great to see Downing rewarded with an opportunity to play college basketball.
“She’s got the benefit of getting college paid for while playing a game that she loves,” he said. “I don’t know if it gets any better than that.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.