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Macy Miller coming up clutch for Kernels

BROOKINGS — Frost Arena will be Macy Miller’s basketball home in the fall, but at the Class AA state tournament, she is staking claim to the fourth quarter as her own.

The Kernel senior guard has led her team to victory down the stretch in two close games thus far in the tournament, as Mitchell has moved on to the Class AA girls state title game. The Kernels play the Warriors in the championship at 8 p.m. today at Frost Arena.

Against Roosevelt in the quarterfinal round Thursday, Miller scored 17 of her 38 points in the final stanza to push her team to a five-point win. Against the Rough Riders, Miller was on the floor with three teammates who had seen very little pressure minutes this season, as Mitchell had three senior starters foul out early in the fourth quarter.

In the semifinals Friday, Mitchell avenged its lone loss of the season, thanks in no small part to Miller’s 16 fourth-quarter points against Sioux Falls O’Gorman. The South Dakota State University signee converted a pair of “and ones,” had two big steals and iced the game with clutch free throws.

“The crowd was chanting and it feels awesome,” Miller said. “We are back to the ’ship.”

After fighting through two defenders to hit a jumper and get to the free-throw line, the often subdued Miller let her emotions out, as she has throughout the tournament. This brought on a “Macy Miller” chant from the Kernels fans.

Mitchell coach Wes Morgan said his team fed off Miller’s intensity in the fourth quarter against the Knights.

“Macy’s intensity got us going,” Morgan said. “I haven’t seen this much emotion out of my team this season, and I’m loving it.”

Miller has combined to score 78 points in two games at the Class AA state tournament. The record for scoring in three games at the event is 81, which was set by JoElle Byre, of Sioux Falls Washington, in 1981.

No. 1 seeded Washington is up next for Mitchell, giving the Kernels a chance to knock off three schools from Sioux Falls in three days. This is an achievement Miller said prior to the start of the tournament that would solidify the Kernels as the best team in the state.