ASHLAND — It has been a couple of weeks since Ashland captured the Division II national title and Madison Dackin said it is still sinking in.
“It is seems so surreal,” said the Bath product. “It was an amazing experience.”
Dackin, a sophomore, was a member of Ashland that finished off a 37-0 season by defeating Virginia Union, 93-77, in the title game March 24. In the game, Dackin contributed by coming off the bench and scoring points. Dackin finished the night by going 2 for 4 from behind the 3-point arc and 8 for 8 from the free throw line and had two rebounds, one steal and one assist.
“We had a lot of support and it was packed and it was amazing,” Dackin said. “You dream about this as a kid and the dream came true.”
Dackin’s dream to reality journey began at Bath where she was a top performer. As a Wildkitten, she averaged 16.8 points and 8 rebounds a game. She was selected first-team All Western Buckeye League, all district and All-Northwest Ohio and third team All-Ohio.
In her time at Bath, Dackin was a member of a team that won four district championships and a regional title.
“She’s a winner,” said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick on one of the reasons they recruited her. “She plays hard. She hustles and she works hard.”
Even though she was a standout student-athlete, Dackin was exposed to a whole new level of hoops at Ashland.
“It was a big change and the game is completely different at this level,” said Dackin, who joined an Eagles team that had established itself as a national powerhouse. “I think as a freshman I had to mentally prepare myself for it.”
In her freshman year, Dackin came off the bench and averaged 3.4 points a game but in her limited time began to show off her talents towards the end of the season where she started to become a a key player off the bench.
“Coming into this year we had a lot of talented players but I knew what to expect and what I was stepping into and I accepted my role because I wanted to do what was best for the team,” Dackin said. “Of course you want to be a starter but we had a really, really good team.”
Because of the talent in front of her, Dackin did not crack the starting line-up this year but she became one of the most valuable players off the bench.
This past season she played in all 37 games and averaged 16.8 minutes a contest. Dackin’s 8.4 points per contest ranked her sixth on the team in scoring. She shot 45.3 percent from the floor and 43 percent from 3-point range.
“She is a team player and what impressed me is how hard she works,” Fralick said. “She would be in the gym 20 to 30 minutes before practice. She found her way into the rotation and that is a credit to Maddie and how hard she works. She is a spark off the bench for us.”
Fralick said Dackin became the first option off the bench as a wing player and in addition to her scoring she is also a strong defender that provides consistency in the Eagles’ press defense.”
Off the court, Fralick described Dackin as a good student with a sneaky sense of humor.
Coming into the season, Dackin said the national title was one the goals set by the team and it really started to kick in at the onset of the tournament.
“I think it started to become a reality once we entered the tournament,” Dackin said. “We talked as a team and we said `we think we can do this.’”
Dackin said she is looking forward to next season and added that even though the team is losing some key players she added that the team is eyeing a repeat.
“I want to keep getting better and as a team that is the goal.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1