By Rob Kiser
Miami East senior post Haley Howard left her mark in the Viking basketball program’s record book.
And now, she has the opportunity to take her game to the next level.
Howard, the daughter of Earn and Nicole Howard, recently made the decision to play for UNOH in Lima next season.
“Absolutely (it is great for the program), I have had a kid go on to ONU (Ohio Northern) and a few to Edison,” Miami East girls basketball coach Bruce Vanover said. “Not that many kids play at the next level because of the academic demand.”
Howard set the single season record at Miami East for rebounds (253) and blocked shots (67) this past season, while averaging nearly a double-double.
She finished her career with 909 points and has the school career record with 817 rebounds and 214 blocked shots.
Howard also tied the record for block shots in a game with seven and had a 22-rebound game, third most in school history.
“Haley (Howard) is a hard worker and has a passion for the game,” Vanover said.
And she has added to her game ever year.
And in a win over Tri-Village that led to a CCC title this past season, Howard showed another dimension of her game.
“She is definitely a rim protector, a true five,” Vanover said. “But, as she showed against Tri-Village, she can step out and shoot (the three).”
Howard averaged nearly a double-double this past season and Vanover expects her to only get better at UNOH.
“I think she has tremendous room for growth,” Vanover said. “I think she has to improve on her footwork. And she has to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger. Because at the next level, the other girls are going to be bigger and stronger.”
But Howard already has the most important ingredient to be successful at the next level.
“Haley is in the gym all the time,” Vanover said. “She plays in the summer. I think it is a great fit. They are getting a girl that wants to be successful at the next level.”
And this signing was particularly rewarding for Vanover.
“I have known her since the sixth grade,” Vanover said. “The one thing Haley told me, from the time I met her until she made this decision is she wanted to play at the next level.”
And now, that dream has become a reality.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.