Prep girls basketball: New Miami has new coach, a desire to play fast

3:01 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 Journal-News Sports
New Miami girls basketball coach Ashley Rison

The preseason has truly been a learning situation for New Miami High School’s girls basketball team.

The Vikings return very little experience from last season’s 13-10 squad and have a new head coach in Ashley Rison.

“I’ve always said since I graduated high school if I never got anywhere with basketball playing, I wanted to be a coach,” said Rison, who works with special-needs students as an aide at New Miami Elementary School and has no coaching experience. “It’s not the money or anything like that. I just always wanted to do that and help out girls.”

GIRLS BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEWS

• Badin Rams

• Carlisle Indians

• Cincinnati Christian Cougars

• Edgewood Cougars

• Fairfield Indians

• Fenwick Falcons

• Franklin Wildcats

Rison was a standout player for the Vikings, graduating from New Miami in 2009 and going on to play for Miami University Middletown.

She is pushing an up-tempo, full-court agenda with the Vikings, who were 4-9 in the Miami Valley Conference Gray Division in 2016-17. Their leading returning scorer is 5-foot-2 sophomore guard Naomi Smith, who tallied 2.2 points per game in five appearances last year.

“I think we are a very athletic team. I haven’t seen a team this quick in a long time,” Rison said. “Our defense is what’s going to win games. We’re going to be pressing the whole time. That’s what Coach (Dwayne) Terry did for us in high school, so I want to do that now. We have to work on our offense a little bit, but we’ll do that. They have a lot of heart and want to know everything.”

Smith is the squad’s outside shooter and will run the point, while 5-5 sophomore guard Arielle Scalf is quick with the ball and will drive to the basket. She didn’t play varsity ball last season.

GIRLS BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEWS

• Hamilton Big Blue

• Lakota East Thunderhawks

• Lakota West Firebirds

• Lebanon Warriors

• Middletown Middies

• Middletown Christian Eagles

• Ross Rams

Senior guard Samantha Jones (5-4) and junior guard/forward Brooklyn Adkins (5-6) saw some varsity action last year, averaging 1.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game between them.

Madyson Ballinger, a 5-9 sophomore center, is expected to be a starter along with the aforementioned foursome. Ballinger and 5-10 freshman Alexis Field figure to be New Miami’s top rebounders.

Sophomore forward Jessi Trent (5-3) and freshman guard Sierra Ivy (5-4) will add depth for the Vikings. Alissa Stamper, a 5-7 sophomore forward, is sidelined with back problems, but could return at some point during the season.

“I think we’re going to be pretty tough physically,” Rison said. “We’re going to put 120 percent into every single game and every single step that we take. We’ll play with grit.”

BOYS BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEWS

• Cincinnati Christian Cougars

• Fenwick Falcons

Alyssa Rison, a 2011 New Miami grad, will coach the NMHS junior varsity and is also a first-year coach.

“We’re both brand new to it,” Ashley said. “I think I’m a positive reinforcement kind of person. I’m definitely not a screamer or yeller. My sister is the one with the mouth. She’s the feisty one.”

The Vikings will open the season at Middletown Christian on Nov. 28. They’ll be at home the next night against Clark Montessori.

View full experience