By John Bombatch Sports Editor
December 16, 2013
JAMESTOWN — Coaches at Xenia High and Cedarville High have said the same thing about Greeneview’s Ashton Lovely: when the senior Ram sets up to shoot a 3-point shot waaaaay back behind the arc, there’s really nothing yhey can do about it.
Lovely broke into a smile when she heard that Buccaneers coach Terry Toliver and Cedarville’s Ralph E. Grant had both said the same thing, after both teams had lost to Lovely and the rest of the Greeneview Rams girls basketball team.
Thursday’s game wasn’t any different.
Playing an overmatched and out-numbered Springfield Northeastern team, Greeneview scored the game’s first 14 points and cruised to a lopsided 65-11 win. Lovely had already scored a game-high 24 points by the time Rams coach Gregg Haines pulled his star player, midway through the third quarter.
She is both Greeneview’s all-time scoring leader and career assists leader. Haines said Lovely makes his job a lot easier.
“There will be times when our offense will break down, but she’ll be there to take control and turn that mistake into a score,” Haines said. “She can score from anywhere on the floor, and she’s always looking to get her teammates involved. That’s something she doesn’t get enough credit for. She can flat-out score and we know that she can shoot, but she’s the best assists player we’ve ever had. She likes to get her teammates involved as well, and that’s something that’s often overlooked.”
Lovely signed a national letter of intent to play college basketball at the University of Cincinnati earlier this season. She said she feels her final high school season has been going well thus far.
“We started off not so good, but we’ve been working hard on a lot of stuff. I think we are getting better with each game we play,” Lovely said.
When asked about her long-range 3-pointers, Lovely broke into a shy smile.
“I don’t really know when I started being able to shoot from so far back, but … I don’t know how to describe it. It just feels good to shoot from out there,” she explained. “I work on it, but I do it because it helps to spread the defense and it gets everyone else open.
“It’s my job as the point guard to get everyone else involved. I can’t be the team’s only scorer, I’ve got to get my teammates the ball, to give them the scoring opportunities as well.”
Teammate and fellow senior co-captain Natasha Siebenaler said the Greeneview team is better, because Lovely makes them be better.
“She’s a really good motivator. She always pushes us to do our best in practice or during a game. She’s a really good friend to me, and she always makes me want to do better,” Siebenaler said. “Whenever she sees something that we’re doing wrong, she’ll try and tell us what to do to improve, and how to do it.”
Siebenaler said she’s seen Lovely improve through the years. She says Lovely is less hesitant to dive for loose balls and to play tougher defense, now. But Lovely said she is still trying to improve.
“I think my defense can still improve, and my ball handling. I think I need to be stronger with the ball, stuff like that,” Lovely said. “I hoped we could beat more of the Division I teams we faced (the 5-3 Rams defeated Xenia, but lost to Springboro and Fayetteville Perry), but I really think the season has gone well so far.
“We’re getting better every day.”
Greeneview can thank Ashton Lovely for that.