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Anatomy of a record: Miller had 46 through third, 'exhausted' by fourth

Macy Miller, during a game earlier this season at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

SPEARFISH -- Macy Miller set a Class AA girls’ basketball single-game record with 49 points in a Mitchell 77-66 win over Spearfish on Saturday.

Miller finished 15-of-29 from the field as No. 2 Mitchell stepped out of Eastern South Dakota Conference play for its sixth-straight win.

Miller had 46 points at the end of the third quarter, and missed a free throw with five minutes to play that would have given her 50.

“I was exhausted at the end of that game,” said Miller, who had not missed a free throw in five straight games heading into the matchup against Spearfish.

“It was a bad time to miss one I guess,” Miller said with a laugh.

The South Dakota State University signee made 19 of her 21 free-throw attempts in the game. Miller is shooting just over 92 percent from the free-throw line this season.

According to Miller, the Spearfish man-to-man defense allowed her to get to the basket, resulting in layups and free-throw opportunities through the first three quarters.

“She was consistent after missing a few early on,” Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. “We went to a zone defense to start the second quarter and she got some life. She got a few fastbreak layups off turnovers where she jumped the ball and got the steal.”

Miller added 11 rebounds for the double-double, seven steals, five assists and three blocks. She scored 13 points in the first quarter, 18 in the second and 15 in the third. Her 46 after three quarters tied the Class AA state record of 46 points set by Huron’s Ruth Nelson in 2006. Miller made three free throws in the fourth quarter to set the Class AA mark. The South Dakota High School Activities Association does not keep such records, but Miller’s record was attested to over the weekend by multiple South Dakota broadcasters and sports writers.

“That fourth quarter, they just kept pushing and weren’t going to give up,” Miller said.

After the sluggish start following the long bus ride to Spearfish, the Kernels looked to be in complete control, with a 60-36 lead at the end of the third quarter. But the Spartans heated up in the fourth quarter, hitting three 3-pointers.

“They hit some threes, we substituted a couple of kids and we might have stayed in the zone defense a little too long,” Morgan said about the Spearfish comeback. “Things started to snowball a little bit in their favor with turnovers and we took quick shots. I was just looking at the clock and saying ‘keep rolling’ to myself. Macy was running out of energy at the end there, too.”

According to Morgan, Miller missed a few shots in the fourth quarter due to exhaustion.

Junior forward Taylor Volesky added 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while grabbing eight rebounds and three steals for Mitchell. Senior center Shelly Iburg added six points and four rebounds.

The Kernels shot 27-of-57 from the field and 21-of-28 from the free-throw line, while out-rebounding the Spartans 34-33.

Spearfish was led by Kaitlyn Hinch with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Rickie Engesser added 12 points. The Spartans shot 23-of-55 from the field and 16-of-27 from the free-throw line. Spearfish finished with 23 turnovers and forced 22 by Mitchell.

The Kernels return to ESD play Tuesday against Huron at 6:30 p.m. at the Huron Arena. Spearfish (11-3), which is receiving votes in the Class AA poll, plays Belle Fourche Thursday in Spearfish.

Mitchell 77

Spearfish 66

MIT (15-1)

Taylor Volesky 7-15 1-3 16; Shelly Iburg 3-4 0-0 6; Torrie Michels 0-1 1-2 1; Macy Miller 15-29 19-21 49; Emma Schmidt 1-3 0-0 2; Erin Farnham 0-0 0-0 0; Cassidy Musick 1-4 0-0 3; Julie Knight 0-0 0-2 0; Alex Weber 0-0 0-0 0; Rachel Bucholz 0-0 0-0 0; Ally Goldammer 0-0 0-0 0; Kaley Nolz 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 27-57 21-28 77.

S (11-3)

Rickie Engesser 4-9 4-6 14; Kaitlyn Hinch 9-19 6-10 24; Erin Griffith 1-6 0-1 2; Lexy Burket 3-10 2-4 9; Michaela Cemak 1-4 4-6 6; Vickie Nachatilo 2-3 0-0 5; Jelsie Dean 0-0 0-0 0; Madi Ulin 3-4 0-0 6; Kaycee Johnson 0-0 0-0 0; Alyssa Griffith 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 23-55 16-27 66.

MIT 19 39 60 77

SP   15 20 36 66

3-point field goals: MIT 2-10, SP 4-11. Rebounds: MIT 34 (Miller 11, Volesky 8), SP 33 (Hinch 8). Assists: MIT 9 (Miller 5), SP 8. Steals: MIT 16 (Miller 7, Volesky 3), SP 10 (Hinch 4). Turnovers: MIT 22 (Volesky 9, Michels 4, Miller 4), SP 23 (Hinch 5). Personal fouls: MIT 23, SP 20. Technical fouls: MIT Bench, SP Coach. Fouled out: MIT: Iburg.