Kayla Miller has always scored points.
It’s the other statistical categories that separates the Pequot Lakes sophomore from the rest.
Miller’s line during the Class 2A state quarterfinal victory over Zumbrota-Mezeppa Wednesday is a prime example. She tallied 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead Pequot to a 57-46 victory.
It’s the same performance she’s been providing Pequot the entire postseason.
Miller scored 15 points in Pequot’s 55-52 triple-overtime win over Hawley in the Section 8-2A championship game March 9. Eight of those points came off of offensive rebounds.
“She is just so athletic,” said Pequot head coach Jon Dale. “I really believe she’ll be something special by the time she’s a senior. She has just such a desire to win. At times I think she hyperventilates because she gets so intense.
“She makes a few mistakes, but it’s not because of lack of effort.”
On the season, Miller is averaging 13.9 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. She’s added 76 assists, 51 steals and three blocked shots.
Miller was also a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line and 4-of-7 from the field during the state quarterfinal win.
“I feel this year I will be a little more nervous because I wasn’t the main starter last year,” Miller said before the state tournament. “This year we have a better draw in the first round and so it will be interesting to see how far we could go.”
Pequot’s already farther than they were last year and a lot of that is due to the contributions of Miller and other first-year starters and varsity players.
“This team has really come along and they’re playing more as a team,” said Dale. “We’ve really stepped it up on defense and we’re moving our feet better. Against Hawley we had to dig down deep and play with some heart and we did that.
“I would say Kayla’s defense is the part of her game that really goes unnoticed. We have her playing the other team’s best guard all year long.”
Last season, Miller posted 39 points, 29 rebounds, 13 steals and 11 assists in spot action for the 28-2 Patriots. Record-wise, this year wasn’t as successful, but for Miller it was a lot more fun.
“This year was tough, but it’s better since I’m playing more with my grade and the juniors and seniors,” said Miller. “This is our turn. Last year it was the seniors’. It’s been different, but I didn’t expect us to be playing this well. I think we really had it all along, but we don’t mind playing the role of underdogs.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tatum Sheley, Pine River-Backus, scored 19 points against Isle.
Mattie Lueck, Pequot Lakes, scored 27 points against Crosby-Ironton and 15 against Hawley
Chelsey Bonsante, Crosby-Ironton, scored 23 points against Pequot Lakes.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.