TERRYVILLE \u2014 Some top athletes glide with the grace of a panther. Even at a walk, coordination radiates in their movement. Lauren Segalla was like that, setting a soccer scoring record at Housatonic High School before moving on to a starring role at Division I West Virginia University. Dominick Dao has that look this year for Terryville High School\u2019s basketball team, leading the Kangaroos to an 8-1 overall record, 6-0 atop the Berkshire League, following a win last Tuesday over the NCCC\u2019s East Granby. Terryville\u2019s only loss came against SMSA with two Kangaroo starters and Coach Mark Fowler out under a Covid protocol in the finals of a Christmas tournament. Most teams have a leader. Only a handful have a leader like Dominick Dao. Dao may be one of the few high school athletes in the state who can score what Fowler calls a quiet 51 points, as he did in a game at The Gilbert School last Friday. \u201cHe\u2019s efficient,\u201d says Fowler, citing Dao\u2019s 20-for-24 shooting from the field in that game. Tuesday, it was a quiet 35 points in the East Granby game; a week before, 27 at Wamogo. Dao is averaging 28 points a game. The quiet part comes because \u201che makes a lot of points look easy,\u201d says Fowler at a Wednesday afternoon Kangaroo practice session where it\u2019s obvious that neither Dao nor his teammates harbor either a swelled head or the jealousy\/resentment a flashier scorer might draw. \u201cHe gets them on put-backs, transitions and a lot of points in the paint,\u201d Fowler says. Viewers see part of the points coming from his panther-like athleticism; the rest, like Segalla\u2019s on a soccer field, from a hungry panther\u2019s drive once the game begins. \u201cMy freshman year, I was a little scared. As a sophomore and junior, we had a lot of other good players ahead of me. As a senior, it\u2019s my time to shine,\u201d says the 6-1, 185-pound Dao after Wednesday\u2019s practice. \u201cHe\u2019s our point guard, but I like moving him all over the court because it adds flexibility and he\u2019s effective anywhere,\u201d says Fowler. \u201cIt\u2019s his nature to be a distributor, but he came into this season knowing he had to move into a scoring role. \u201cHe embraced that,\u201d Fowler says. \u201cHe\u2019s so coachable \u2014 he listens to everything you say. If you point out something he needs to work on, he\u2019s locked in. \u201cBut the jump he\u2019s made this year is bigger than I could have imagined,\u201d Fowler concludes \u201cI did a lot of lifting in the offseason,\u201d says Dao. \u201cI gained 25 pounds. It\u2019s made me better at rebounding.\u201d Against East Granby, Dao had 11 rebounds plus four of Terryville\u2019s eight assists surrounding his points. \u201cI like handling the ball, but I kind of do anything. It depends on who we\u2019re playing,\u201d he says. In Tuesday\u2019s 57-42 win, Terryville led East Granby by a single point, 19-18, at the half. The Roos slapped a full court press on the Crusaders to start the third quarter after sophomore Charlie Rogers made two foul shots. The press produced a steal; Dao sank a three-pointer. Dao\u2019s sophomore brother Deon made another steal. A teammate traveled. Big brother Dominick made the team\u2019s third straight steal, got fouled and went to the line for the first two of his eight straight free throws in the quarter, including 6-for-6 on 1-and-1 fouls. Dao finished with 17 of Terryville\u2019s 25 points for the quarter in a goodbye wave to the Crusaders. \u201cI\u2019m going to play hard every night, make my teammates better and do what it takes to win \u2014 just play as a team,\u201d says Dao, role-playing a college scout\u2019s view of his game. \u201cHe has that drive on and off the court,\u201d says Fowler, citing Dao\u2019s 96.5\/top 10 academic average. \u201cI think he\u2019s capable of playing at any level.\u201d \u201cI just want to find the right fit for me,\u201d says Dao, heavily recruited by several area colleges, including ECSU, Western New England and Post University. \u201cIt doesn\u2019t matter what level.\u201d Most colleges, at any level, might just welcome another hungry panther on their teams.