FAIRFIELD TWP. — Terrence Mitchell is like most other coaches. Winning is great, but he’s ready to see the next step.
His Cincinnati Christian School girls basketball team won for the fourth time in five games Saturday afternoon by thrashing visiting New Miami 64-26 in Miami Valley Conference crossover play.
“It’s starting to come together,” said Mitchell, in his first year at the CCS helm. “When we play the really good teams, we’ve got to put four quarters together. The teams that are down here with us at the bottom of the MVC standings … we tend to play very well against them. I want to see us take a big step against the better teams.
GIRLS BASKETBALL COVERAGE
“It’s still about building that confidence and that mentality to embrace the idea that we’re going to win the game when we come out on the court.”
The Cougars cruised to Saturday’s win over outmanned New Miami. Cincinnati Christian opened the game with a 15-point run and took a 37-5 advantage into halftime.
Rhyan Pater (14) and Jillian Miller (12) posted career-best point totals to lead CCS, which moved to 4-12 overall and 3-8 in the MVC Scarlet Division. Caila Nagel tossed in 10 points.
“We wanted to use this game to get better and really work on our defense and trying new offenses,” said Miller, a 5-foot-5 point guard and the Cougars’ lone senior. “We thought we would come out and play aggressive, but I think we surprised ourselves today. We’ve come a long way with playing as a team. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
The Vikings (0-12, 0-10 MVC Gray) piled up 11 turnovers in the first quarter and 31 overall. They didn’t manage their first field goal until early in the second period.
Junior guard Arielle Scalf fired in a career-high 20 points, but New Miami’s losing streak got extended to 33. Its last win came against Milford Christian (48-16) on Feb. 7, 2017.
“Every game they get down on themselves a little bit more, but I can still see it in their eyes. They’re trying to win,” Vikings coach Ashley Rison said. “I just keep telling them that one of these days it’ll come. We’re just waiting for that game.”
New Miami has experienced more than a few blowouts this season. The Vikings’ only two competitive losses came at the hands of Miami Valley Christian Academy (40-36) and Lockland (53-48).
Scalf said opponents shouldn’t expect the Vikings to simply throw in the towel.
“I have hope, I have faith, and I’m ready to win,” Scalf said. “I feel like it’s going to happen. We’ve been working and getting better and better and better. It is hard to stay positive, but that’s what you’ve got to do. Our coaches give us a lot of courage and help us out a lot. You can tell we’ve been growing.”
Brooklynn Adkins had four points and eight rebounds for New Miami, and Kristyn Riley grabbed six boards. Scalf scored in every quarter and sank a pair of 3-pointers to go along with multiple driving baskets.
“Every option I see, I take,” Scalf said. “I’m always going to keep going. If I see a door, I’m going through it.”
Mitchell was impressed with Scalf’s quickness and determination to push the ball.
“We wanted to keep her away from the paint,” Mitchell said. “She was aggressive getting to the basket and the free-throw line. When we cut that off, she stepped back and was hitting bank-shot 3-pointers. She’s got a lot of heart. I definitely appreciate those type of players.”
Cincinnati Christian won the second half 27-21. Rison liked what she saw from her team in the last two quarters.
“The second half was probably the best half we’ve had all year,” she said. “We shot the ball a lot more than we have been.”
“As you could see, we had a few girls that felt like New Miami was going to give up, and they didn’t give up today,” Mitchell said. “Our girls are not used to being in this situation most of the time. We try to coach them up to keep playing aggressively all the way to the end.”
Eleven different players hit the scoring column for the Cougars. Pater and Miller, who both chose not to play last season, did all of their scoring in the first three periods. Pater had eight rebounds and three steals, while Miller totaled six boards and four assists.
Miller said she didn’t play last year because of her involvement with music (she’s a drummer).
“It’s my senior year and I love basketball and my schedule wasn’t as busy, so I came back out,” Miller said.
Miranda Heid had eight points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists for CCS. Other statistical leaders for the Cougars included Mariah Shakespeare (eight points, five boards, two blocks), Kaitlyn Fritz (seven boards), Kaitlyn Uffman (six boards), Tori Byndon (five steals) and Lauren Barr (five boards).
“I feel really comfortable with our girls right now,” Mitchell said. “The biggest thing is them being exclusive. If you’re good at playing defense, bring that on the court and bring that talent to help the team. If you’re good at offense, bring that talent out. We can work on the other things that you’re not exclusive with, but right now, with this young team, we have to be exclusive and be able to do the things that we can do.”
Cincinnati Christian will at home against Finneytown on Monday. New Miami hosts Clark Montessori on Wednesday.
New Miami 1-4-12-9—26
Cincinnati Christian 15-22-20-7—64
NEW MIAMI (0-12, 0-10 MVC Gray): Brooklynn Adkins 1 2 4; Arielle Scalf 8 2 20; Alissa Stamper 1 0 2. Totals: 10-4-26
CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN (4-12, 3-8 MVC Scarlet): Miranda Heid 4 0 8; Jillian Miller 4 4 12; Caila Nagel 4 0 10; Mariah Shakespeare 4 0 8; Lauren Barr 1 0 2; Cari’a Thacker 1 0 2; Kaitlyn Uffman 1 0 2; Rhyan Pater 7 0 14; Kaylene Lunt 0 1 1; Kaitlyn Fritz 1 0 2; Briahna Bush 1 0 3. Totals: 28-5-64
3-pointers: N 2 (Scalf 2), C 3 (Nagel 2, Bush)