By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — The Tippecanoe girls basketball team already had lofty expectations heading into the 2017-18 season.
Still, Maddie Frederick had an instant effect.
“Maddie came to us, obviously, high profile, being ESPN Top 100,” Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman said.”And she had it tough coming in, too. The expectations for the team were high anyway, and a high-profile athlete coming into it made it even more difficult”
Frederick, a senior and already a state champion during her sophomore season at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, joined a Tippecanoe team that had been to the regional tournament three years in a row, having lost in the regional semifinals last year and the regional final the two seasons before that — but also a team that was returning four of its five starters from last season. Still, her impact on the floor could not be ignored as she helped lead the Red Devils to a second straight division title and a fourth straight regional tournament appearance, and on Tuesday she was named the Division II All-Ohio Co-Player of the Year.
“It’s a great honor. It’s pretty cool. And this is well deserved, too,” Holderman said. “She’s one who works hard every day in practice. Being a high-profile athlete, a lot of times some of them don’t work as hard as they need to. But she led by example, and her efforts were contagious.”
Frederick was first in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division in scoring with 15.8 points per game, good enough for third overall in the GWOC at the regular season’s conclusion, and also led the North in assists with 3.1 per game and was fourth in steals (2.2 per game) and eighth in rebounds (4.6 per game). Before the season even began, she committed to play college basketball for the Big 12’s Iowa State University.
Still, with so much talent returning to the Tippecanoe lineup this season, everyone knew it may be a challenge for her to fit in. But early in the season, it was clear that Frederick fit right into the Devils’ talented ensemble cast as Tippecanoe went 25-3 on the season, scoring big wins over strong Miami East, Fairmont, Fort Loramie and West Liberty-Salem teams in a 10-game winning streak to start the season before losing by one point to Versailles — which is playing in the D-III state tournament this week.
Tippecanoe lost only one other game to D-I Springboro at the Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament before going on a 14-game winning streak that led it to the regional final, where it lost 47-41 to Bellbrook. Frederick had a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds during that game, one of her strongest efforts of the entire season.
“Trying to fit in and get herself accepted with our players, I thought she did a fantastic job of that. She was very unselfish,” Holderman said. “And it’s tough. I mean, I still feel like kind of an outsider here in Tipp, and I’ve been here since 1999. I thought she did a great job of adjusting.
“That’s why that regional final loss stings, still stings, and I’m sure it will for a while. It’s the full cast. Adding her into it obviously made our team a heck of a lot better, but the girls around her were able to make her better, too. I thought she did a fantastic job in the regional finals of keeping us in the game. She showed why she is going to Iowa State in that game, and I think she’ll do well out there.”
Frederick, who shared Player of the Year honors with Gilmour Academy’s Naz Hillmon, was joined on the D-II All-Ohio team by teammate Allison Mader, who earned honorable mention.
In D-III, Miami East’s Morgan Haney earned All-Ohio special mention.
In D-IV, Newton’s Tatum McBride — the All-Southwest District Player of the Year — earned a spot on the All-Ohio first team, while Covington’s Sammi Whiteman earned a spot on the All-Ohio second team. Bradford’s Skipp Miller and Lehman’s Alanna O’Leary both earned All-Ohio honorable mention.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.