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Small Mitchell contingent sees Miller make history

Macy Miller poses for a portrait Sunday evening at Mitchell High School. Miller broke the school and Class AA girls' single-game scoring record Saturday night with 49 points against Spearfish. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

SPEARFISH -- Just eight days after making school history, Macy Miller put her stamp on the Class AA record books with another remarkable performance Saturday in Spearfish.

While the Mitchell attendance may have been slim, those lucky enough to witness the senior’s spectacle know they saw something special.

Miller set the single-game scoring record in Class AA girls’ basketball with 49 points in a 77-66 Kernel win over the Spartans.

“I really didn't think about it during the game," Miller said of the record. "I just kept trying to get that ‘W’ for us, and just kept trying to take it to the basket."

If she wasn’t thinking about it, her teammates were.

“There was obviously lots of applause,” Mitchell senior guard Emma Schmidt said. “The audience was excited. At halftime, we went into the locker room and we all knew she had 31 points and started to become aware of the potential for a record.”

Because of Spearfish’s five-hour driving distance from Mitchell, the Kernel fan presence at the game was small. The Kernel school record was fresh on the minds of those following the team, as Miller set a new school mark with 43 points on Jan. 31 against Yankton at the Corn Palace.

Leann Farnham, whose daughter Erin plays for the Kernels, was at the game Saturday and estimated 25 people were there from Mitchell.

“We all know how great Macy is,” Farnham said. “She is the real deal. The thing that is cute with her is you look up at halftime and she has 31 points. It’s just work as usual for Macy. All these years watching her, you just know that she is just something special.”

The crowd was aware of how close Miller was getting to the school record, according to Macy’s mother, Shelly, who said people around her were asking, “What’s the state record?”

“I have no idea about that stuff, but people around us were talking about it.”

While her mother was unsure how close her daughter was to a state record, Macy said she was made aware of the mark after her recent performance against Yankton.

The record for Class AA girls’ basketball was 46, set by Huron’s Ruth Nelson in 2006.

Through the first three quarters, Macy was consistent, as she headed into the final eight minutes with 46 points.

“I think I looked up in the third quarter when she had around 33 points and that’s when the thought entered my mind that she could get 50,” Mitchell assistant coach Joe Shepardson said. “You could tell she was getting tired. She scored the first 40 points pretty easy and the last few buckets were tough. She had a few layups rim out and a couple of no calls.”

Admittedly exhausted, the South Dakota State University signee stepped to the line for two free throws after getting fouled with five minutes remaining, making them both. A technical foul on the Spearfish coach gave Macy two additional chances to add to her total from the free-throw line just seconds later, but she split the pair to end her scoring for the night.

“There was an audible ‘awww’ when she missed that free throw from the crowd,” Farnham said. “There was a crowd reaction when she missed her last few shots.”

Macy is shooting 92 percent from the free-throw line this season, which would be a new Kernel record for a season if she stays on the same pace.

Many Kernel fans listened to the radio broadcast of the game. Macy’s father, Alan Miller, was one of those listening live on the radio as his daughter marched toward another record.

“It’s an impressive thing,” Alan said. "Macy’s worked pretty hard her whole career. There is a sense of pride to watch her do well."

Time is running out for fans to see Macy and this group of Kernels perform. Mitchell (15-1) plays its next three games on the road, starting against Huron at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Huron Arena. The Kernels return home to play Brookings Feb. 24 at the Corn Palace in the team’s regular-season finale.

“People have got to come out and see this girl play,” Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said. “A player and a team like this doesn’t come along very often.”