Local Sports

Phares finds right fit in Wilmington College women's basketball program

Madison Phares never considered herself a college-bound basketball player.

Then Becca Hoefler took over the Shelbyville girls basketball program. She made Phares believe if she wanted to play college basketball, it was within her reach.

On Wednesday in the Golden Bear Room at Shelbyville High School, Phares was joined by friends and family to celebrate her official signing to play college basketball at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio.

“Coach was a big impact on the reason I wanted to play college basketball,” said Phares. “I always loved basketball and played since a young age but she pushed me, saw potential in me, she was the one that told me I could play college basketball.”



Phares is not yet settled on a specific educational track. She is considering being an athletic trainer or pursuing a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

With her high school career complete and her signing day over, Phares can now breathe a sigh of relief and start preparing to join the Quakers program.

“It was exciting but a little bit stressful to decide where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do,” she said.

Phares felt a sense of family around the Quakers program which made her decision easier to make.

“The team chemistry is there,” she said. “It felt like family when I was there. I felt like it was home.”

Wilmington gets a versatile 5-foot, 11-inch forward that can work in the low post and feel comfortable shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. She averaged 8.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game for a Shelbyville squad that finished 11-12 this season.

“They liked that I was strong. They liked that I could do multiple things … I can face up to the basket and I can shoot from the outside,” said Phares. “They told me to work on some things and I am going to get there.”

Wilmington College is northeast of Cincinnati, nearly two hours from Shelbyville. The Quakers are currently 7-14 this season for head coach Janel Blankenspoor, in her second season.

Phares can focus in on finishing her senior season and preparing for graduation. Then, the four-year process starts all over in the fall.

“Yeah, that’s tough,” laughed Phares when asked if she was ready to be a freshman again, “bottom of the food chain. It’s not bad, you have to start somewhere.”