New coach brings optimism to Fort girls basketball team

Hinton played college basketball at Mississippi State

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Arlisa Hinton has been a little bit of everything in her basketball career.

A high school standout, a big-time college player, and she was so close to playing professionally at one point.

Then she got into coaching, and, for the past decade or so, officiating.

She knows basketball.

Hinton, 40, hopes to bring that love for the game to Fort Vancouver. The Trappers have hired her to coach the girls basketball program.

Hinton, who grew up in Richmond, Va., and played for Mississippi State, has been living in Vancouver for the past 15 years, working for the city. She understands the challenges at Fort.

"I want to help change the reputation at Fort. Part of that is to get them involved in the community," Hinton said. "Fort is a perfect place to do that. I want to build something for the community."

She also said she had little or no guidance to what it took to go to college when she was a teen. She wants to help all of her players reach their academic potential, regardless of their athletic skills.

As far as basketball, Hinton said she believes Fort can be competitive. She hopes there will be a real success story to tell in a few years.

"It's just a mentality that someone can show them," Hinton said. "I can show you where I'm from, what I've done. I'm going to give them a little hard work. Show them they can get through it. Then give them a little more work. It's a building thing."

Hinton takes over for Mike Dillman, who coached the Trappers for 10 seasons, including a trip to the state tournament in 2008.