DARKE COUNTY – A pair of senior basketball players who are leaders for their teams and have started the season with strong offensive performances 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 Zach Hyre and Ansonia girls basketball player Brooke Neal.
In his first three games of the season, Hyre is averaging a double-double with 27.3 points per game and 13 rebounds a game.
“Zach has had a tremendous start to the season for us,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “It is refreshing to see an athlete that has been serious in his effort behind the scenes be rewarded by performing at a high level on game night.”
The Franklin Monroe senior started out the season with a team-leading 23 points in a game against Bethel. He followed that up with a game-high 30 against Houston and a game-high 29 in a win against Milton-Union.
“Z changed his mindset over the course of the offseason and has taken a completely different approach to individual improvement,” Myers said. “That has been evidenced by his high level of play thus far, and I would expect more of the same as his preparation in practice continues to get better each day.”
In addition to being a great player for the Jets, Hyre also has been a great leader.
“He became much more engaged this past offseason not only with his intentions toward basketball but also his investment in the lives of his teammates and coaches,” Myers said. “Regardless of what happens the remainder of the season, I will be forever grateful for Z’s contribution to our program as one of its best leaders. He is a remarkable student along with being an athlete, and a first class person away from all of that.”
Just like Hyre, Neal has been a great leader for her team during her senior season.
“I have had the privilege of coaching Brooke for three years at Ansonia,” Ansonia girls basketball coach Jim Bolin said. “Brooke was just a sophomore when I took over at Ansonia. I have watched her grow and mature as a basketball player and a young lady. This season she has not only grown in her skill sets but more importantly she has become our captain and leader of our ball club. She is our leading scorer, best 3-point shooter and has picked up her defense. She has become an extension of the coaching staff on the floor, in practice and in games.”
This season Neal is averaging 16 points a game and led the Lady Tigers in scoring in five of their first six games. This past week she scored 17 points in a win against Yellow Springs, 21 in a win against Mississinawa Valley and 19 against St. Henry.
The Ansonia senior also led all scorers in two wins against Franklin Monroe with 19 and 14 points in the two games.
“Brooke is our go-to person,” Bolin said. “She makes everybody around her a better player.”
With Neal’s great play and leadership, Ansonia has started the season with a 4-2 record.
“What really stands out about Brooke, she’s truly a good basketball player, and she’s even a better person,” Bolin said. “I am proud to call her our leader.”
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.