Area Female Athlete: Aitkin's Miller growing into role
Brooke Miller Year: Junior School: Aitkin Sport: Basketball Position: Forward Highlights: Scored 22 points against Rush City and 18 against Isle Brooke Miller wasn't feeling it. She hadn't found her shooting touch and didn't feel comfortable on t...
Highlights: Scored 22 points against Rush City and 18 against Isle
Brooke Miller wasn't feeling it.
She hadn't found her shooting touch and didn't feel comfortable on the offensive end. She still scored 22 points during the Gobblers' 60-55 Great River Conference win over Rush City Dec. 5. One can only imagine the production had she been feeling confident.
"I honestly felt pretty flat at the beginning of the game," Miller said. "It was all just through the movement of the ball and passing as a team. I just had the open shot. It was all teamwork. We moved the ball well and ran our offensive plays crisply."
Her big night was followed by an 18-point performance in the Gobblers' 78-49 conference win over Isle. It's that type of production Aitkin head coach Rob Williams is hoping for from his junior captain.
Last year Miller came off the bench and played a key role in the Gobblers' 19-8 season. Williams is asking for more from his returning veteran.
"Hopefully she'll be one of several double-digit scorers on our team," he said. "That creates balance, but she has the ability and skill to score 20 points a night when we need it. Against Rush City we needed it. At Isle, she played very aggressively and the girls fed off of that."
In 24 games last season, Miller tallied 6.6 points, 2.6 rebounds,1.3 assists and 1.3 steals, while shooting 30 percent from the field and 57 percent from the line. Williams and Miller expect those numbers to increase with Miller's increased role as a player and leader this season.
"This year I feel pretty confident," she said. "In the offseason, I played AAU and that really boosted my confidence in my all-around game. Coming back into the season, I felt very confident with where I was at. Playing all summer really boosted my confidence on the offensive end.
"We graduated three really good seniors from last year's team so I knew I needed to work on being more vocal. I needed to be a leader. We have a very young team this year. We have two returning veteran seniors and the rest of us are juniors and sophomores. I felt I had to pick up my leadership role and help out the younger players so they could feel comfortable with playing varsity."
The three-sport athlete said playing last year helped her understand what was required to become even better. She said the older players pushed her and she hopes to do the same for her younger teammates. She also hopes to help out her coach. Miller and Williams both eluded to moving Miller to the point guard position.
"There is a possibility of that happening," said Williams. "We have a couple of point guard options. We like having bigger, stronger girls at the point and we have a pretty good shooter playing the point right now. We would like to rotate her off the point and get her more shots from the wing. You can never have enough point guards. Brooke is a 5-foot-8, strong player so having her play point would be nice.
"Her leadership is definitely coming. It's a work in progress as it always is. Even as seniors, players continue to progress at those leadership skills. You can never learn enough. We have returning seniors Lisa Anderson, who is a wonderful leader for us and has done nice things, and Marissa Kinzer who plays a great role with her leadership. Brooke is our junior captain. I've told her that she needs to learn from Lisa, who was our junior captain last year, how to be a leader on the floor and off it."
Miller said her goals are to help her team improve with each game and individually to help her coach and teammates to do that.
"We can be a very good team," said Miller. "We don't have the size we've had in the past, but we are a running team. That's what we want to do."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Grace Wolhowe, Staples-Motley, finished with 21 points and eight steals against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Shania Glenz, Verndale, scored 20 points against Pillager.
Kayla Carter, Pierz, scored 24 points against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Marlee Moore, Lake Region, finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds against Maplewood Academy.
Haley Wiebolt, Pequot Lakes, finished with 20 points against Thief River Falls and 14 points, five assists and five steals against East Grand Forks.
Hockey: Mariah Reed, Northern Lakes, finished with two goals and an assist against Fergus Falls.