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Area Female Athlete: Miller, Gobblers poised to go far this season

Brooke Miller Year: Senior School: Aitkin Sport: Basketball Position: Forward Highlights: Finished with 58 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and five steals last week Brooke Miller isn't concerned with headlines or praise. The Aitkin ...

Brooke Miller
Brooke Miller

Brooke Miller

Year: Senior

School: Aitkin

Sport: Basketball

Position: Forward

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Highlights: Finished with 58 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and five steals last week

Brooke Miller isn't concerned with headlines or praise.

The Aitkin Gobblers forward doesn't care about how many shots she's getting or her points-per-game average. She sets modest goals for herself, but monumental ones for her basketball team.

Surrounded by talent, Miller knows this has the makings of a special season for Aitkin.

"We have so much potential," said Miller. "We graduated three seniors from last year's team. One was a starter and another was right off the bench. I think, because a lot of our basketball team is our volleyball team we already have great chemistry. Just the team in general. We all just think together and if somebody is having a bad night we're all just there to support them. We have a really supportive team. So the chemistry on the court is there as well as off the court."

On the court, Miller is proving her worth as a senior leader. She opened with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field in the Gobblers' season-opening 72-37 victory over Onamia. She added four assists, four rebounds and two steals.

The four-year varsity player posted a 25-point performance in Aitkin's 63-44 victory over Moose Lake-Willow River Dec. 3. She added three blocks, three assists, a steal and an assist.

She tallied 14 points in the Gobblers' only loss of the season as Aitkin fell to Pine City 52-51 Dec. 4. Miller battled foul trouble and still collected five rebounds and two steals.

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In a 54-36 win over Foley Tuesday, Miller helped a balanced Gobbler attack with nine points, eight rebounds, five steals and two assists.

"We have pretty simple goals like just taking one step at a time and taking each game how it is," said Miller. "I think one of our strongest keys is we have so many different people to look for a shot. We don't have one distinctive player. I know I've gotten a lot of points, but that's not from them running the play around me. We're able to move the ball around and create shots. The ball movement and the chemistry of the team and knowing where to put the ball have led to me getting points.

"My strong suit is driving to the rim. We have a lot of plays that revolve around cuts and drives and stuff. I've found it easy for me to get to the rim. It's easier for me than in the past couple of years."

Last season, Miller averaged 9.5 points, 1.0 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game and shot 61 percent from the line. Through the first four games this season, Miller is shooting 23-of-27 (85 percent) from the line.

"We strive to create a team that is balanced so it's hard to scout us," said Williams. "We've got some nice weapons. We've got the inside and outside game. With Brooke, I've been extremely pleased with her development from her sophomore and junior years to her senior year. She's gone from a really good athlete who on any given night can score a lot to this year being that steady go-to factor both points-wise and play-wise-defensive steals, calmness on the floor and the leadership that she has shown. She's taken a big stride to kind of become the driver behind the wheel for this team."

Williams has been pleased with Miller's consistency. She's shown composure when things get out of hand on the floor. Williams said his 5-foot-9 forward can play any position, but when they need her too, she can also control the flow of the game.

"Her shot is much more consistent and her release is much more confident," said Williams. "Her ball handling and her composure on the floor-just that vibe she gives off to the rest of the team-has taken a huge leap forward. She's always had that ability to play at a high level, but we're seeing that maturity and that decision making and leadership has really rounded her out to be an all-around great player this year.

"We went to Moose Lake and Foley this week, she took over when things got a little hairy out there and a little scrambled. She just took over, pulled back and started calling the offense for us and took over the point position for us for a few possessions."

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Finishing at the rim was one thing Miller worked on during the offseason as a member of her AAU team the Comets of St. Cloud. According to Williams she already has seven and-ones this season, where she made the shot, got fouled and then made the free throw.

Now she's focused on improving her defense and becoming a better rebounder. Her personal goal is have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Last year she finished with 51 assists to 64 turnovers. This year she has eight assists and nine turnovers.

"That is a huge sign of the big picture that she sees," said Williams. "It's her senior year and sometimes athletes get so focused on what they want to accomplish personally, but she has bought into the program that we are pitching to these girls about being a family and working together as a unit. She understands it."

Other notable performances:

Basketball: Haley Wiebolt, Pequot Lakes, finished with 22 points and 10 assists against Pine River-Backus and 24 points and eight assists against Proctor.

Katrina Blom, Crosby-Ironton, scored 21 points against Park Rapids.

Jami Nelson, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 21 points against Park Rapids.

Melanie Dorn, Little Falls, scored 24 points against Sauk Rapids.

Jordyn Glenz, Verndale, finished with 23 points to reach 1,000 for her career against Hillcrest Lutheran.

Grace Imdieke, Lake Region, scored 28 points against Rosemount.

Quinn Uhlman, Staples-Motley, finished with 22 points and three steals against Holdingford.

Hockey: Angela Hanson, Prairie Centre, finished with 15 saves in a shutout victory over Marshall.

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Related Topics: GIRLS BASKETBALL
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