LUCASVILLE — Bre Call’s continuation of her basketball career will take her to a branch campus, but it’s close to home and opens a door into Education.
That’s because Call, the four-year starting standout for the Valley Lady Indians, committed recently to playing collegiately for Miami-University Hamilton —a branch campus of Miami University’s main campus in Oxford and located in Hamilton.
Call, a 1,000-point scorer and three-time all-Southeast District honoree, made her announcement official on Friday at a closed Valley High School —as she was flanked by her parents Rob and Lisa Call and former Valley girls basketball head coach Mark Merritt.
“It’s not the same with everybody being out of school, but my parents being there, that’s who I would want there more than anybody. It (school closure) is what it is, but my parents made a lot of sacrifices for me, getting me to and traveling with me and being there for all my practices and games all these years,” said Call, in a telephone interview. “I am very thankful for them.”
Ordinarily, Call would be joined by her friends and fellow Lady Indians’ teammates, but the threat of the coronavirus has forced ALL of Ohio’s school districts to be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Still, it didn’t dampen her excitement about living out her dream of playing college basketball.
Miami-Hamilton, which was founded in 1968, is one of three public regional campuses of Miami University —and competes athletically as a member of the 11-school Ohio Regional Campus Conference.
“I am very excited. I’ve put so much of myself into basketball, I’ve dedicated myself to it. To not be able to play college basketball and not continue playing the sport I love, that would have been devastating to me. I am thankful for this opportunity that I’ve worked years for,” said Call. “I am ready to play basketball for four more years and continue my education.”
Call said she received several offers from Division III programs, but at the time, “wanted to keep my options open”.
“I was at a point then that I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I had a bunch of Division III schools, but I wanted to be close to home and there was a lot of money on the line in my decision,” she said.
Call said as the end of her senior season approached, Miami-Hamilton head coach Ross Tonyan took the time to travel and watch her tournament game.
She then visited the Harriers’ campus and “loved it” —and “that’s when I realized that Hamilton was likely the right school”.
Call compared Hamilton to Shawnee State University in size, as it is an estimated hour and 40 minutes from Lucasville.
Despite being a branch campus, she said the program is transitioning to become an official NAIA member — the same level as SSU.
Call said Tonyan is “rebuilding” the Harrier program, which is relatively young in terms of personnel with less than 10 players on the entire roster.
“He (Tonyan) doesn’t take very many, usually around eight (on the roster). They run the floor, it’s a faster-paced offense that I will be transitioning to. We were all small guards at Valley and not as fast as them (Harriers) obviously, so game speed I am going to have to adjust to,” she said. “But I am confident and I can do it.”
She definitely did a lot for the Lady Indians.
Scoring 1,076 career points at Valley, Call captured first-team all-Southern Ohio Conference Division II honors all four years —having led the Lady Indians in both scoring and steals each campaign.
She was also a two-time team leader in assists, as she averaged 12.2 points per game as a sophomore, 14.2 points per tilt as a junior, and 11.8 points per contest as a senior.
Call dialed up District 14 Coaches Association second-team accolades those final three years, and also earned Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association all-Southeast District honors over that same span (3rd-team Division IV in 2018, 2nd-team Division III in 2019, 3rd-team Division III in 2020).
As a result of making second-team (OPSWA) all-district as a junior, she automatically made Honorable Mention all-Ohio.
“I had a lot of fun playing for four years at Valley,” said Call. “Coach (Mark) Merritt always pushed me, encouraged me, gave me good pep talks.”
Now, after some soul-searching herself — and planning to major in Early Childhood Education — Call believes her basketball home for the next four years is the best of both worlds.
“I am ready to be independent and on my own and go to college and play basketball, but I also know that as much as a family-oriented person that I am, I’m still close to home,” she said.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved