DARKE COUNTY – One athlete who is finishing up an incredible high school career and another who is just beginning his are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Mississinawa Valley boys bowler Zac Longfellow and Tri-Village girls basketball player Danika Mann.
Mann is among the top five Darke County girls with 15.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game.
“It’s always nice to have somebody that you can go inside to and get those easy buckets in the paint,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “Right now she’s just playing really well. We know when we get it into her she’s going to shoot a high percentage.”
This past week the Tri-Village senior scored her 1,000th career point in the Lady Patriots’ sectional championship victory against Newton.
“I’m really happy to see her get that accomplishment,” Gray said. “I know that’s something she tries to downplay, the credit she gets.”
Throughout her four-year high school career Mann has been an integral part of Tri-Village’s success. She and the other Patriot seniors are 46-2 in Cross County Conference play and finished league play undefeated each of the past three seasons.
“She’s definitely been a huge part of that,” Gray said. “All three of our seniors have.”
Mann has continued that success into the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs, helping guide the Patriots back to the district title game.
“Right now she’s been carrying us,” Gray said. “She’s been playing really well.”
Zac Longfellow is just a freshman, but he qualified for the OHSAA Division II state bowling tournament this season. He finished ninth in last week’s district tournament with games of 176, 215 and 154 for a 545 series to qualify for state.
“There was one game at districts if he just hadn’t missed two 10 pins he could have shot in the 250s,” Mississinawa Valley boys bowling coach Alan Longfellow said.
For the season Zac Longfellow is among the best bowlers in Darke County, averaging 182 pins per game.
The Mississinawa Valley freshman is one of just four Blackhawk bowlers to have qualified for state in school history. He’s also the first underclassmen to accomplish the feat.
His coach, who also is his father, credits Zac Longfellow’s commitment to his success.
“He says, ‘Dad, I want to go practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,’” Alan Longfellow said. “You have kids who aren’t committed, they just go to practice and then go home. They don’t ask to practice. That’s what I think. It’s just like him in baseball. That’s the way he is in baseball, too. You have to be committed if you want to get better.”
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.