MacKenzie Townsend Signs with Bluffton University basketball


UNION CITY – MacKenzie Townsend signs to continue her athletic and academic career with Bluffton University.

Townsend was a standout basketball player for Mississinawa Valley and a key piece the team’s record-breaking season and first-ever district title in school history.

Townsend was a 1st-team all-conference player, 3rd-team all-district, 1st-team district 9 and honorable mention all-state. She averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for the 21-6 Blackhawks.

Ironically basketball wasn’t her favorite sport coming into high school. She was in love with softball but with the success the Lady Hawks had and motivation and nudge from coach Michael Paige she began to fall in love with Basketball.

Townsend is flanked by her teammates and coach Michael Paige as she signs to play at Bluffton.  (Dale Barger photo)

“MacKenzie has been a huge part of our program and our team’s success, but it didn’t come easy. I remember her sophomore year, it was my first year back here as coach and she had the size and skill but was really immature and to see her mature over the last few years and grow into the player she has become was amazing. She became one of the biggest parts and most important pieces of our team and a big key to all our success,” Coach Paige explained.

Kenzie confirmed his impact on helping her improve.

“He saw me from the start and immediately was like Kenzie, like you’re tall, you have to be able to score, you have to learn these things. Like it’s just one of those things you have to learn because you could have a big impact on our team,” MacKenzie said.

“He really helped me understand why we do this thing, why we do that thing and why I should be boxing out instead of just jumping up over people. So, he’s just always been a positive influence, a huge supporter and teaching me everything I need to know about the game,” she added.

Townsend and her team had success in her junior year winning 20 games the most in school history at the time and coach Paige would start talking to her about playing beyond high school

“So last year, the coach started talking to me about colleges. And if I even wanted to play in college, which I was a little iffy about playing basketball in college, because I just never just thought about basketball in college. So, it was just a new thing for me,” MacKenzie said.

“My junior year I felt like everything just started to click for me. I was making plays and scoring points. I was doing stuff on defense, it went both ways. It wasn’t like I was just there for defense, I wasn’t just there for offense it was the whole thing and my love for the game started to grow and grow as my teammates started to help me figure it out and it pulled me towards basketball to where I wanted to continue playing this game,” Townsend added.

Kenzie made a few visits but was struck by Bluffton College and the coach and his interest in her as a player and came to watch her play a few games.

“I started talking to a coach, I went on visits, I fell in love with the campus, I fell in love with the coach’s idea of the program, and what he thought of the program, and I met some of the girls that are going to be on my team next year, and I just, I loved it,” Townsend exclaimed.

It felt right for MacKenzea, and she decided Bluffton was the right choice which made her family happy as they would be able to make the short 2-hour drive to get up to see her play.

“My parents (Mason & Andrea Townsend) and sister (Madison) have been huge supporters.  Even when my older sister went to Findlay she would try and come watch me. My family always makes it to every game they always show up. We always have our pregame talks, like they’re just always there for me no matter what’s going on,” Townsend said.

MacKenzie Townsend signs her letter of intent with her Father, Mason – Mother, Andrea and Sister, Madison by her side. (Dale Barger photo)

Coach Michael Paige is proud of MacKenzea and what she has accomplished over the last couple of years and getting to play beyond high school.

“Kenzie was definitely our energy, anytime we were down, you can expect her to start clapping, screaming and jumping up and down, getting excited. She was able to pick us up emotionally, it was huge for our team and for the crowd, too, they fed off of her energy, I think her teammates fed off her energy as well. So having a person like her on the team just lifts everybody up, especially in those hard moments when we’re down and it makes me proud to see her being able to play at the next level,” Paige praised.

“I’ve coached a few people that have gone on to play in college and every time it’s just a proud moment. Kenzie I think is one of the special ones because to see where she came from when her sister was here. She loved softball and then slowly converted over to wanting to be a basketball player and so it’s been an amazing journey watching her grow and mature into the person she is now and to see her go on to play at the college level. It’s amazing,” Paige concluded.

Going to college to play basketball is one thing but Townsend also is happy to be able to also get into Bluffton pre-physical therapy tract and she wants to pursue being a pediatric pediatrician.

One thing is clear, if MacKenzie puts her mind to it she has plenty of energy and enthusiasm to carry her through it.

Good luck at Bluffton!