TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Ariel Cummings has been a big part of the Notre Dame girls basketball team for the past two years.
Last year, Cummings helped the Eagles get to the state championship game, but they came up just short of bringing home the title, a bitter thought that has given new motivation to her senior season.
"It sucks, honestly, you think about it on a daily basis. You think how you're almost there and what you could've done," she said. "But it actually might have been for the best to be honest because it fuels you through practices and games, and to just get better."
Using that motivation, the 6-foot-3 Toledo commit is averaging just under 12 points and 8 rebounds a game, and was name 2018 TRAC player of the year.
"I wasn't expecting it, but it just feels nice to have recognition, people see what you're doing and appreciate it," Cummings said.
With the successes she's reached on the court so far, you wouldn't know that her basketball career started just four years ago as a freshman for Ottawa Hills, a thought Notre Dame Head Coach Travis Galloway thinks about often.
"She's come along way in a short period of time already," he said. "I always thought, 'Man if she would've started when she was in fourth or fifth grade like the other players, where would she be at right now,' but I really think the sky's the limit for her because of that."
As for what's attributed to Cummings growth it's her work ethic.
"I think my basketball IQ has grown a lot, just the way I think in practices and games," Cummings said.
"She comes in every day with a work ethic to get better," Galloway said. "In games, just her offensive game has improved a ton, we can throw the ball to her in the post as a go-to type player, and usually something good is going to happen with that."
Ariel Cummings is WTOL 11's athlete of the week.