The Division III regional tournament bracket is loaded with some of the state’s top teams in girls high school basketball.
Miami East and Versailles are on one side of the bracket. Hamilton Badin and North College Hill are on the other. Then there’s Greeneview.
Few would mention the Rams among the state’s best in recent seasons. But they’re getting closer.
The Rams can take another step toward building its basketball reputation on Monday. Greeneview (21-3) plays North College Hill (17-6) in the sectional final 6 p.m. at Wilmington High School. It’s the Rams’ third straight sectional final appearance. Years ago that would have been considered a successful season for Greeneview.
“Our goal is definitely to go and try to win one,” said Greeneview coach Gregg Haines, noting the Rams haven’t done that since 2002.
“(The girls) are aware it’s been awhile. When we first took the job it had been eight or nine years since they had even won a tournament game. We’ve been trying to change that attitude a little bit. We’ve told them we have the talent to make a run.”
Greeneview’s success starts with Ashton Lovely, a 5-foot-9 senior guard. The University of Cincinnati-bound Lovely holds most of the Rams’ offensive records — both for a career and a season — and with a couple more games could top 2,000 points in her career. She’s averaging 23.5 points, 5.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game.
“She does try to get everybody involved. She’s a great passer and she doesn’t get a lot of credit for that,” Haines said. “She’s kind of turned us into a team where you can’t just guard her anymore. You have to guard Sophie Sonneman or Natasha Siebenaler or Alex Rice or Kristen Combs. Ashton has kind of developed that. Getting others involved has opened up her game, too.”
The Rams have four players averaging about 10 points or better. But it’s defense that will determine their postseason run this time.
Monday that means slowing down NCH freshman point guard Victoria Morris (18.6 points, 6 assists per game) and keeping D’Aja Turner (12.3 points, 15.7 rebounds) under control.
“If we can contain those two with our defense — you’re obviously not going to shut them down — then it should be a good game,” Haines said. “If we don’t contain them … we’ll see what happens.
“Our big thing is if we can sit down and guard, then we can be able to advance in the tournament. If you can’t play defense in the tournament you’re not going to move on.”
The Rams obviously want to get that elusive sectional title this year. But should a third straight trip to the sectional title game end there, the good news is help is on the way. Haines said the eighth-grade team finished second in the Ohio Heritage Conference tournament and the seventh-grade team won its tournament.