New Miami High School boys basketball coach Dave Farrish is a realist. A truth teller.
So while his squad returns six seniors and a pair of sophomores this season, Farrish is not one to deviate from the truth train.
“Our margin of error is small,” Farrish said. “If we play hard the entire time, I am hoping our margin for error increases. But we have to work very, very hard to compete, and that is something the kids are learning and trying to take the next step.”
While the Vikings return a lot of experience, the experience has not been something to write home about.
New Miami was 3-19 last season and 0-13 in the Miami Valley Conference Gray Division, being outscored by an average of 69-40.
The Vikings had just three games that were decided by 10 or fewer points.
The senior class enters the year with a career mark of 8-60, 1-38 in the MVC.
“The players have learned from playing in different situations,” Farrish said. “I am hoping we have grown so as seniors they can experience a few more victories.”
The senior group is led by guard Christian Acus, who averaged nine points a game last year, forward Joseph Mack (7 points, 4 rebounds), post player Kyle Kellum (4 points) and guard Austin Howard (4.3 points).
Sophomore Ronnie Bowman returns to the post after finishing third in the MVC in rebounds (7.4), and he was third on the team in scoring (6.9 points).
Seniors Dalton Philpot and Patrick Larison, along with sophomore Nate Hobbs, round out the roster.
One of the things that pleased Farrish was the number of players working on their game in the offseason.
“We had some who really made an effort and invested time in the summer to get better,” Farrish said. “Our core kids were in the gym a lot, and I hope they see a difference this year. I’m hoping the word ‘work’ gives us the opportunity to be in more 50-50 games this year.”
The experience, combined with the work in the offseason, has allowed Farrish to continue to build on the offense and defense the Vikings have been running the past three years.
“Assistant coach Aaron Farris made the statement the other day in practice that we look as good — or better — than at any time last year,” Farrish said. “If we make the effort and sustain the effort over a long, long season, we may see some different results, and I am hoping they can.”
New Miami opens the season Saturday at home against DePaul Cristo Rey.
“If we can win a two or three of the 50-50 games in December, we might have a shot to win a few more games than in the past,” Farrish said. “It would be awesome for this senior class if that was to happen.”
However, moving up the league standings may take a little more.
Defending champion Cincinnati Christian and runner-up Cincinnati Country Day are expected to once again be the front runners in the Gray Division.
“Everybody in our league is two or three levels ahead of us,” Farrish said. “I think our league is one of the most competitive leagues in Southwest Ohio.
“We have to be able to sustain effort over a long period of time. We don’t have a chance if we take plays off. It is going to take a great, concerted effort if we are going to have a chance.”
New Miami Vikings
Coach: Dave Farrish, fifth season
2015-16 Record: 3-19 overall, 0-13 in the Miami Valley Conference Gray Division (fifth place)
2016-17 Schedule (all start times 7:30 p.m. unless noted): Dec. 3 — DePaul Cristo Rey; Dec. 6 — St. Bernard; Dec. 9 — at Seven Hills; Dec. 10 — at Tri-County North; Dec. 13 — at Lockland; Dec. 16 — Clark Montessori; Dec. 17 — Cincinnati Country Day; Dec. 19 — Dohn; Jan. 3 — Milford Christian; Jan. 10 — at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy; Jan. 12 — at School for the Creative & Performing Arts; Jan. 13 — at Cincinnati Christian; Jan. 18 — Dohn; Jan. 20 — at St. Bernard; Jan. 24 — Lockland; Jan. 27 — at Summit Country Day; Feb. 3 — at North College Hill; Feb. 4 — at DePaul Cristo Rey; Feb. 6 — School for the Creative & Performing Arts; Feb. 10 — at Cincinnati Country Day; Feb. 14 — Mount Auburn International Academy, 7 p.m.; Feb. 17 — Cincinnati Christian