Watching and learning

First Posted: 1/13/2015

BATH TOWNSHIP – Bath’s Maddie Dackin has spent most of her life watching her three sisters play basketball for Bath.

Now it’s her time to play and her sisters’ time to watch.

Dackin is the driving force for the Wildkittens this year, as they stand 12-1, 4-0 in the Western Buckeye League. First-place Bath has won four straight WBL titles and is riding a 37-game, regular-season WBL winning streak.

Dackin leads the team with a 16.5 scoring average. She is second in rebounds (4.7) and second in assists (2.2). She’s also shooting 49 percent from the field and 34.4 percent on 3-pointers.

The 5-foot-9 senior has scored 755 career points. She’s signed to play basketball at Division II Ashland.

Looking back, Dackin can hardly remember I time she wasn’t watching the Wildkittens.

“I remember in first and second grade sitting in the stands with my friends,” Dackin said. “I remember the Mauk twins (Stefanie and Rachel), my sisters (Alex, Rachel and Taylor) and Mary Simindinger and Amy Simindinger.”

Alex Dackin was the first Dackin sister and was a hard-nosed 5-9 post player, who could step out and knock down 3-pointers. Her rebounding and defense were invaluable on the team that went to state in 2008 with long-range bombers, the Mauk twins and Nicki Hopkins.

Alex, eight years older than Maddie, first established the sisters’ drive and work ethic.

“Her (Alex) senior year she became real strong and became a leader and I loved watching her,” Maddie said. “She’s tough and probably the most strong-willed person I know.”

Then, came Rachel, five years older than Maddie, who played basketball, but was more known for volleyball.

“Every time she (Rachel) was in the gym she wanted to get better,” Maddie said.

Then, came Taylor, two years older than Maddie. Those two quickly established a “friendly” rivalry.

“It was more Taylor and I would go in the driveway and shoot and push each other down,” Maddie said. “One time after a game, she shoved me in a hole. We were building something and there was a hole and shoved me right into it. We played hard.”

Taylor remembered the day and the hole.

“I think she fouled me and I pushed her and she fell into a deep hole,” Taylor said. “She always reminds me of that.

“As much as she hated it, when we played, I’d correct her and never went easy on her. The competition made her want to win…. And any time we played each other, she had to learn to take the ball to the hole and be strong.”

All three older sisters set the bar high for Maddie to follow.

“I looked up to all my sisters, they all worked really hard and I always knew I couldn’t be the one to not work hard, because that would be a disappointment to my family,” Dackin said. “They set the bar super high for me, so I always had to reach that bar. I’m thankful for them for that.”

Bath coach Greg Mauk said, “When you grow up not only with three older sisters who played in the program, but you grow up in our school system, you see this basketball group play, I think it has a profound impact on young players. I think she had the advantage of having three older sisters and she missed probably no games and I don’t know how many years. I think they really had an impact on her.”

Taylor went down with a torn ACL knee injury at the state tournament her junior year. She battled back to play her senior year.

“I watched her work so hard to come back,” Maddie said.

Maddie Dackin came off the bench and contributed 1.6 points her freshman year on the 2012 team that went to the state semifinals.

“Going to state was the most fun I had in high school,” she said.

As a sophomore, she started and her game took a huge leap in all phases. She ended up averaging 5.9 points.

“We sat down at the end of her freshman year and we impressed on Maddie that were a couple of thing she had to change,” Mauk said. “She had to change her shooting technique. She used to shoot right in front of her face. She also had to become a better ballhandler and a better defender. … In the 17 years I’ve done this, I don’t know of another player who not only listened, but really made a concerted effort to change all those things. She came back and was a total different kid.”

Last year, she became a player that colleges in all three divisions sought. Her scoring average shot up to 13.1.

“I knew I wanted to turn myself into a different player than what I had been before,” Maddie said. “I worked really hard, got in the gym and shot a lot. …. My freshman and sophomore years I didn’t put up that many points on the board and coming into my junior year we had graduated a couple of girls and I knew I had to step into a different role and be more of scorer. I had to get my shot better and know how to get to the hole more.”

Alex played basketball at Notre Dame College (Ohio) and is now studying law at Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Taylor is playing soccer at Ursuline College in Cleveland. Rachel is married and going to college in England.

Maddie’s first goal is for the Wildkittens to win their fifth straight WBL title. Then, she’s aiming for a trip back to the state, with all three of her sisters coming back to watch.

“That would be the ultimate dream of mine,” Maddie said. “They shaped me as the player I am.”

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