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McCUTCHEON: Miller gives 'em something to talk about

Being new to the Mitchell area, I had little idea what was in store when I was assigned to cover the Mitchell Kernel girls’ basketball team. I asked around about what to expect.

The first thing everyone told me was, “Wait till you see Macy Miller play.” All the while, I was thinking, how good can she be?

Fast forward three months, and I am emptying the barrel of adjectives to describe what she is doing in her final season for the Kernels. Mitchell coach Wes Morgan and his counterparts from around Class AA have also had trouble putting Macy’s senior season into words.

With the regular season coming to a close, I have likely asked Morgan to describe a Macy performance a dozen times. I have tried to get the answer on how to stop her from opposing coaches an equal number of times.

There are only so many ways to slice greatness. The responses “she is great” or “you can’t really stop her” are typical.

While Morgan and other coaches around Class AA are happy to throw praise Miller’s way, the best descriptions I have heard this year have been the candid comments from opposing players, coaches and fans who don’t get to see Macy play on a regular basis.

When the season was still in its infancy, the Kernels traveled to Harrisburg for their second game of the season. Macy was having a typical Macy night, driving to the basket for layups and taking advantage of trips to the free-throw line. During the second quarter, Macy got into the lane for a basket. This prompted a member of the Harrisburg coaching staff to stand up following the play and say, “It’s not LeBron James out there. Get in front of her and play defense.”

While Macy is not King James, she does fill up the stat sheet like him.

A similar comment came against Brandon Valley last week after Macy got a foul call on a shot late in the game while driving to the basket. Many of the Brandon fans clamored for a traveling call. As Macy walked to the free-throw line, one Lynx fan got a little louder than the rest, saying “She doesn’t need any help out there.”

These types of comments are ultimately compliments, born out of the reputation Macy has built.

On a recent trip to Huron, Macy scored more than 40 points for the second straight game. Late in the second quarter, a child — no older than 6 — was talking to his friend next to me. “Oh man, Macy already has 26 points,” the boy said. The comment took me by surprise, as the boy was from Huron and despite his youth, he still knows who Macy is.

Seconds after I interviewed Macy following the win over Huron, two Tiger players walked by and congratulated her.

“Great game, Macy,” one Huron player said. “Thanks for not dropping 50 on us.”

Macy laughed and cracked her usual modest smile.

Earlier this season I asked Morgan what would happen if Macy played against boys. He dismissed the question, noting it’s a different game and the size of the boys would hinder what Macy does on the court. While I agree, it is an interesting thought.

During the most recent win for the No. 1 Kernel girls, I was heading up to the press area at Brandon Valley High School for halftime and a Brandon Valley fan was walking out toward the concession area. He was talking to another Lynx supporter and said, “Wow. Miller could play with a lot of the boys’ teams.”

We’ll probably never get to see how she’d fare against male players, but we know she’d beat many of them in at least one category. Her 92 percent shooting at the free-throw line is something not many boys can match. Nor are they likely to average 30 points a game against their own competition, as she has against hers.

With the regular season nearly over, it’ll be fun to see what highlights — and awed comments — Macy generates during the postseason.