The Miller Junior High School eighth grade basketball team completed a perfect 2022 season on Feb. 15, doing so in dominant fashion.
The Bobkittens (8-0) sported a formidable offense, averaging 52.7 points per game while outscoring their opponents by an average of more than 40 points thanks in large part of a defense that allowed just 12.5 points per game.
Miller was led by Quinton Morrill and Talon Morrill, who scored 10.7 and 10.0 points per game, respectively, and combined to average more than nine steals per game this season.
“They can shoot the ball,” Miller head coach Jimmy McDaniel said, adding the Morrills were the bulk of reason Miller shot 54% from 3-point range as a team. “They were a threat on both ends of the floor.”
But the Morrills weren’t the only reason that Miller had such success, as McDaniel explained the team was chock-full of talent.
“We had a lot of good players that are all-around awesome athletes,” McDaniel said, noting the speed of Aiden Baker and size of Australian transplant Brian Stevenson, who stands 6-foot-4 at just 12 years old. “It was amazing to see how above average they were compared to other kids their age. … We didn’t lack in any skill set, so we could build the offense around the players.”
The skill level allowed the Miller coaching staff to focus on refining the fundamentals.
“We focused on the fundamentals every single day in practice,” McDaniel said. “They learned the mental game and terminology and just an understanding for how we do things.”
A point of pride for the coaching staff was the fact that the entire team was recently named to the school’s Honor Roll as McDaniel said his team “knows my expectations for the classroom come before basketball.”
In his seven years coaching at the school, McDaniel said this past season’s squad was one of his favorites to coach.
“Coaching this team was probably the most exciting season I had,” he said. “It was a stacked team of good basketball players.”
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Highline 81, Grays Harbor 73
Grays Harbor College ran out of time in an 81-73 loss to Highline on Wednesday in Des Moines.
The Chokers (8-15 overall, 4-6 NWAC West) and Thunderbirds (10-13, 7-2) were locked in a 37-37 tie at the half before the game turned into a set of runs over the final 20 minutes of the game.
With Grays Harbor pulling to within a point at 55-54 on a pair of Logan Walker free throws, Highline embarked on a 10-2 run to take a 65-56 lead on a Kenny Curtis three with 7:35 left in the game.
The Chokers responded with a 7-0 run capped by a David Featherston Jr. layup to cut the deficit to 65-63 with 5:23 remaining.
But Highline outscored GHC 8-0 over the following two minutes, taking a 73-63 lead on a Curtis free throw with 2:38 on the clock.
The Chokers got as close as 77-73 on a Tristan Schoepf 3-pointer with 17 seconds left, but Highline went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the game’s waning moments to hand GHC the loss.
The Chokers were led by Justin Loveless, who was one assist shy of a triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Featherston scored 19 points while grabbing eight rebounds for GHC.
Walker (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Schoepf (14 pts., 8 reb.) also scored in double figures for the Chokers, which shot 30-for-75 (40%) as a team, including 9-of-34 (26.5%) from 3-point range.
GHC had 24 assists as a team and outrebounded Highline 41-38, but got to the free-throw line just five times in the game, making four foul shots compared to 15-of-18 (83.3%) for the Thunderbirds.
Grays Harbor will play at Pierce College at 3 p.m. on Saturday.