Big first half powers New Miami to second win at Mt. Auburn

New Miami coach Dave Farrish talks to his team during a timeout Wednesday night at Mt. Auburn International Academy. Farrish’s Vikings posted a 63-34 victory. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

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New Miami coach Dave Farrish talks to his team during a timeout Wednesday night at Mt. Auburn International Academy. Farrish’s Vikings posted a 63-34 victory. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

Winning has been a rarity this season for New Miami High School’s boys basketball team, so Wednesday was a good night.

Austin Howard (14) and Ronnie Bowman (13) topped the scoring as the Vikings improved to 2-11 with a 63-34 road victory over Mt. Auburn International Academy.

“This was fun,” said Bowman, a sophomore forward. “This gives us a little bit of a stamina boost. Coming in here and winning like this, it puts in our minds that we can win.”

Veteran New Miami coach Dave Farrish said that despite the record, it’s been an enjoyable year.

“As talent goes, we are what we are — 2-11,” Farrish said. “But that doesn’t mean I cannot have fun coaching these kids. They’re playing hard. They don’t quit. Our skill level is just not as high as sometimes it should be.

“I think we’re a good team, but not a good basketball team yet, if that makes any sense. But I like being around them. My wife likes being around them. That has to say something.”

The Vikings cruised to the win at Mt. Auburn (0-9), a public charter school that’s not a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

New Miami opened the game with 12 straight points and led 45-13 at halftime.

“This was a big game because they were trying to get their first win and we were trying to get our second,” Farrish said. “I think our pressure at the beginning was the difference. We got a big enough lead, and they could never come back from it.

“When you haven’t won many games, you don’t know how to play with the lead, but the second half was more me than the kids. We packed in the zone and walked the ball up. I felt if we continued to pressure and run, we would’ve scored a lot more, but that wasn’t what was important at that part of the game.”

Joe Mack and Nate Hobbs both scored 10 points for the Vikings, while Christian Acus and Patrick Larison each added seven. Bowman’s 12 rebounds paced New Miami on the glass — Howard contributed seven boards, Kyle Kellum and Hobbs each had six, and Mack and Larison chipped in five apiece.

“We beat ’em last year by a lot, so we knew we were going to have a good game,” Bowman said. “I think we played really well as a team, and whenever we play as a team, we do really well.

“It’s a pretty positive group. It’s just that some games you have a chance to win, some games you don’t. This was one of those games where we knew we had a shot.”

Farrish said the Vikings have set a goal of winning six games and a Division IV sectional contest.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Farrish said. “The big goal is to have a chance to win a tournament game.”

Bowman has been among the top rebounders in the Miami Valley Conference all season. He said he takes an analytical approach to board work.

“I know this is math, but to me, it’s all about angles,” Bowman said. “I box out too, but some people think it’s all about boxing out. I think it’s more mental, and you have to put the mental with the physical. That’s how you get the rebounds.

“I always try my hardest. Whatever I can do for the team, it makes me feel good.”

Alex Dowell and Nel’Micko Lamb both scored 11 points for the Bulldogs, who committed 20 turnovers. Dowell grabbed 10 boards, and Zyell Duett chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.

“For our year, this has been about the course,” said Mt. Auburn coach Micah Stuckey, a 1999 Lockland graduate. “We spot ’em big, then we’ve got a deep hole to climb out of. We’re trying to get them to stop spotting big and get them all together the whole time.”

MAIA lost to New Miami 72-45 last year. Stuckey was hoping his team would take a step forward this season.

“We lost a lot of talent,” he said. “As a charter school, our talent can fluctuate year in and year out because sometimes kids leave for brighter horizons.”

The Vikings will visit St. Bernard on Friday, and the Bulldogs host Dohn next Thursday. Mt. Auburn will travel to New Miami on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m.

New Miami 25-20-7-11—63

Mt. Auburn 5-8-9-12—34

NEW MIAMI (2-11): Kyle Kellum 1 0 2, Christian Acus 3 0 7, Austin Howard 6 0 14, Patrick Larison 3 0 7, Ronnie Bowman 6 0 13, Joe Mack 4 2 10, Nate Hobbs 5 0 10. Totals: 28-2-63

MT. AUBURN INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY (0-9): Alex Dowell 5 0 11, Nel’Micko Lamb 4 1 11, Tymeres Price 1 0 2, Triney Woods 1 0 2, Zyell Duett 2 2 8. Totals: 13-3-34

3-pointers: N 5 (Howard 2, Acus, Larison, Bowman), M 5 (Lamb 2, Duett 2, Dowell)

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