Ravenswood High School’s Ashton Miller savoring final days on the basketball court

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

An injury to an athlete is never a good thing.

But for Ravenswood senior Ashton Miller it is for him to spot a silver lining to what occurred late last season on the basketball court.

Miller, who was enjoying success for Mick Price’s Runnin’ Red Devils as a junior, hurt his knee severely and missed the last several games.

It’s not as though Miller didn’t appreciate what he had as a high school basketball player, but once sidelined it opened his eyes wider to just how special donning and playing for the red and black truly was.

Prior to the start of the season, Price said that Miller had come back with a renewed spirit for the game of basketball.

Dealing with the injury sent Miller on a path to not take anything for granted. He wanted to do every single thing he could possibly do to not only enjoy success individually but certainly help his team reach an abundance of goals in the 2021-22 campaign.

“I think we’re really a strong team,” said Miller, who was wrapping up an additional weight training workout following another demanding practice session with Price. “We are really dialed in. We have a few things to clean up, but we all have definitely stepped it up this season. I think we’re really strong.”

Ravenswood has been state-ranked in Class AA much of the season in both polls (Associated Press and West Virginia Basketball Coaches).

Miller said the additional workouts during the season are to keep his body toned and strong.

“I go up against a lot of bigger and stronger guys and I have to be ready,” he said.

Miller is 6-3 and weighs 190.

When he went down with the injury last season, it was as though the world was coming to an end.

He had a partial tear in his ACL.

“It was hard not being there for my teammates,” he said.

Over the summer, Miller spent countless hours with his fellow Devils in the gym working out and competing in game competition. In addition, he did lots of physical therapy.

Prior to the summer months, Miller did manage to play his junior season of baseball for Wes Swain’s Red Devils. Miller is a versatile performer on the diamond. He can catch, play third, roam the outfield and pitch.

“I love baseball,” he said. “But I also love basketball. I guess whichever sport is in season is my favorite.”

Being able to play baseball last season restored his confidence after the injury, though he knew there was a long road ahead in getting back to normal.

After experiencing the disappointment of not having a full season as a junior, Miller made it his mission to make the final campaign as a Red Devil basketball player all it could possibly be and maybe more. Miller feels good about where his game presently is in the 2021-22 season.

“I’m finally to the point that I’ve built up confidence and I know what I can do.”

Miller started playing basketball at a young age in the Ravenswood Midget League program.

During those times, he dreamed of one day getting to start for Price, who is now in his 44th season as the school’s head coach.

“It’s amazing playing for him,” said Miller. “I just feel like he coaches a lot different. He is straightforward and pushes us to our potential.”

Miller said it is neat to be playing his senior year at Ravenswood during the 100th season of Red Devil basketball.

“It’s super special to end this way,” he said.

The end is something he is not looking forward to.

“I already miss it and it’s not even over yet,” Miller admitted.

When he graduates from Ravenswood, Miller, who owns a 3.5 GPA, plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force.

Miller is happy his last season of Devil basketball has brought about the return of fans.

“The Ripley game was something. You couldn’t have gotten another person in our gym,” he said.

Last season, crowds were limited due to COVID-19.

Miller is soaking up the final days of practicing and playing on the Old Gymnasium’s Mick Price Court.

His hope is to help lead his team to a bigger arena by the end of the season.

That venue would be the Charleston Coliseum, home of the West Virginia High School Boys State Basketball Tournament. This year’s event is set for March 15-19.

“I think this team has great potential. We’ve worked hard and are sticking together as a team. We’re pushing ourselves to get that opportunity to be in the state tournament.”

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— In a 63-54 win over Buffalo, Matthew Carte led the way with 27 points. Beau Bennett was also in double figures with 11. Logan Alfred added eight, Miller six, Shawn Banks five and Drew Hunt four. Carte, Alfred and Blake Ball had eight, seven and six rebounds, respectively.

— The Devils handed Wahama a 73-43 setback. Miller and Carte led the way with 14 points while Hunt scored 12. Banks had nine, Ball finished with eight, Bennett and Alfred each scored seven and Blake Bibbee added two. Alfred was the leading rebounder with eight.

— Hunt’s 21 paced the Devil scoring attack in a decisive 79-29 victory over Parkersburg Catholic. Carte added 15 in the win. Bibbee and Bennett each had eight, Noah Dawson scored six, Ball, Aldred and Banks all had four, Anthony Anglin chipped in three and Hayden Shockey scored two. Carte grabbed six rebounds while Alfred and Ball each had five. Carte had six steals and Miller came up with five.

— Ravenswood suffered a narrow loss to defending Class AA state champion Williamstown, 56-52. Carte’s 21 led the scoring parade for the Devils. Miller finished with eight, Alfred and Bennett both had seven, Ball and Banks had four and Hunt scored one. Carte had seven rebounds and Ball grabbed five. Carte and Alfred had three steals each.

— In the Battle of the Ohio River, Ravenswood topped Southern Local, from nearby Racine, 81-59. Carte led a trio of double-figure scorers with 22. Banks finished with 15 and Bennett scored 13. Hunt and Alfred each had eight. Miller scored seven, Ball added six and Shockey chipped in two.

— Ravenswood took down Roane County 65-43. Carte poured in 29 with Bennett also hitting double figures with 10. Alfred had seven in the win over the Raiders, Ball scored six, Banks finished with four with Hunt and Dawson both scoring two each.