Patriots’ Downing named First Team All-Ohio

NEW MADISON – Tri-Village Lady Patriots’ senior Maddie Downing has been named to the OHSAA Division-IV First Team All-Ohio girls basketball team.

“It means a lot to me because I get to be right after my sister (Allie / class of 2017) on the list at Tri-Village and I am following in her footsteps.” said Downing. “She has accomplished a lot and I made it one of my goals to try and be as successful as she was. I’ve always looked up to her and it means a lot to me that I can follow in my older sister’s footsteps and accomplish something that she has in the past.”

“Maddie has is a very strong competitive drive – she really likes winning,” said Tri-Village coach Brad Gray. “It’s not about her, it’s about the end result for the team and she has always put that at the forefront.”

Downing, the daughter of Rachelle and Scott Downing spent her freshman season on the JV squad before advancing to varsity team her sophomore year.

“As a freshman I came in and I knew there was a standard set to be on the Tri-Village basketball team,” Downing noted. “Knowing that, I realized I had to do what it takes to be a part of the team and play for Brad (Coach Gray). I worked and worked and worked with the girls that were my age. Playing together with them and playing for Brad have meant a lot to me these last four years.”

“Brad is the kind of coach to expect everything from you even if he knows it’s a lot,” continued Downing. “He understands how much work we put in and he appreciates it, but he also holds us accountable for our mistakes. Not only has that taught me to be a basketball player but it has taught me a lot about life, the goals and expectations that life has for you and how to accomplish them successfully.”

Downing and the 2019-2020 Lady Patriots are coming off a 25-2 season that includes a Cross County Conference Championship and a District Championship.

“From the start we had pressure, we had expectations from outside sources,” Downing said of the team’s winning season. “We had a very successful team, we had a very good bonded team. Playing together this year we didn’t accomplish exactly what we thought we would but as a senior there would be no other team I would rather play for and I appreciate the Tri-Village community.”

“There are so many expectations for Tri-Village basketball and sometimes it gets carried away,” added Downing. “People start thinking the negatives and that’s all they focus on but Tri-Village basketball is a very positive and upbeat program. I love playing for them and this year has definitely been one to remember.”

Downing is the second of three sisters, all standing over six foot tall have made their mark or are still making a contribution to the Lady Patriots very successful program under Darke County’s dean of coaches, Coach Brad Gray.

“I have always looked up to my older sister and how many accomplishments she had,” said Downing. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to be just as athletic and I wasn’t naturally as athletic and talented as her but I knew if I put in enough work I could be. I definitely had that as one of my goals.”

“The one thing about Maddie that makes me really proud of her accomplishments, if you would have watched her play as a young elementary kid and even up through junior high, she was kind of an after-thought in terms of the group of kids she was playing with,” said Coach Gray. “There were other kids that were definitely a little bit more high profile maybe than what she was. Just through hard work and perseverance, of the kids I’ve coached in my 14 years as the girls coach at Tri-Village, Maddie has exceeded expectations more than any other kid I have coached.”

“Playing with Allie as a freshman I didn’t get to play on the court with her but I practiced every practice with her,” Downing noted of her older sister. “I was there as her teammate on the bench, cheering her on and that was one of the greatest things that I could ever be a part of.”

“When she graduated I knew I had a big role to fill. I played a year without any siblings on the team and then my junior year my younger sister (Meghan) came on. She was extremely confident and had all kinds of talent to bring to the team.”

“Together we were the ‘Twin Towers’ and that is what everybody called us,” added Downing. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had – having a label for my sister and me and how many accomplishments we had together, how we could bring so much to the team as a unit rather than separated. This year we definitely played together like we did last year. It does mean a lot to have siblings on the team and play together.”

Downing took time to thank the many that had a large influence on her Lady Patriots’ basketball career.

“First I would like to thank my family because they have always been there for me and believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself,” Downing said. “I would like to thank Michael Fisherback because I played for him as a freshman. Along the four years he and his wife Jody have been there for me. They have been like a mom and dad to the basketball team and they have done everything they can for all of us.”

“I want to thank my coach Brad Gray,” continued Downing. “I think he didn’t think I was going to be the player I became and he has told me that many times. The way I’ve grown – I appreciate him giving me a chance.”

“I would like to thank Tri-Village Community for being there at all the games supporting us and cheering us on. It’s amazing seeing the Tri-Village basketball community at all the basketball games, the people there cheering. It is truly something not all schools and communities get and I am lucky to be a part of the Tri-Village Community.

“I would also like to thank the Edison Coaches and basketball team for accepting me into their family and allowing me to continue my career,” Downing added.

“Maddie has been a kid that worked really hard her whole career,” Coach Gray concluded.

PHOTO CAPTION: Maddie Downing scores for the Lady Patriots in OHSAA tournament play. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

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