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Miller leads NH past Scottsburg

Anyone who thinks ‘bulletin board material’ is a thing of the past thinks wrong.
A weekend preview for Scottsburg’s girls squad ran Friday in The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, offering up analysis on the team’s consecutive-night run-ins with Floyd Central and North Harrison. In the article, Warriorettes head coach Randy Edwards stated, ‘In the past, we’ve prepared for both teams and didn’t do well against either one. This year we’re preparing only for Floyd Central.’
Scottsburg came out that night and blitzed the Lady Highlanders, 72-43, but the lack of concentration for the next game against North Harrison came back to haunt the Warriorettes.
‘Funny, I never mentioned that newspaper article (to the players) at all. I never brought that up,’ North coach Missy Voyles said, sarcasm dripping from her lips. ‘That was great motivation. I know Randy, and it was not meant the way it was put, but I went into practice and said, ‘Scottsburg has two games this weekend and thought, ‘Hmm, North Harrison sucks, so let’s prep for FC.’ That’s the way I handled Friday. Not only do they not have respect for you, but they publicly have no respect for you. I embellished that a bit for some motivation, and I lied to them a bit during the game about things I was hearing in the gym,’ Voyles said.
In North’s first return to the site that started its semi-state run last season, an inspired, No. 12-ranked (Class 3A) Lady Cats club outmatched the hosts in nearly every facet of the game and held on for a 47-42 victory at Charles E. Meyer Gym (a.k.a. ‘The Pressure Cooker’).
With the win, North scored its 17th straight Mid-Southern Conference games. Its last loss in league play was Nov. 17, 2001, at Scottsburg, 65-62.
Holding the flag for the visitors was 5-11 junior guard Tara Miller, who bombed her first six shots from the floor ‘ all rain-making 3-pointers ‘ and grabbed 12 rebounds, recorded five steals, and handed out three assists. She was the primary ball-handler when Scottsburg turned up the heat defensively and buckled down late when her team needed her most.
All total, Miller had a hand in all but three of her team’s field goals, either by scoring or dishing out an assist.
Miller, an all-state candidate and considered by many to be in the running for Miss Basketball next season, received a bit of pregame advice from her older brother, Chad, who now plays at Oakland City University.
‘He told me that in warm-ups my shot needed more arc on it,’ Miller said. ‘It helped.’
And how about that shooting performance?
‘I was mad. We saw in The Courier that they weren’t preparing for us, so I had to do it. Maybe next time they’ll prepare for us,’ she added.
With the exception of Miller’s banner scoring night, the rest of the game’s offense left a lot to be desired: Scottsburg was 15 of 51 (29 percent) from the field, including a horrid 1-15 second period, while North was just 11 of 37 (29 percent).
The Lady Cats owned a 2-1 advantage on the boards, 43-20, but committed more turnovers, 29-18.
One of the deciding factors in the game came at the free throw line, but instead of the hosts wearing out a path to the charity stripe, North was the team on the advantageous side.
The Lady Cats, which didn’t record a foul until 31 seconds remained in the first half, swished 18 of 26 tries while Scottsburg made it to the line just eight times, converting six.
‘They play such an aggressive defense, and we play pretty much a match-up half-court zone, so you should get a lopsided foul count,’ Voyles said. ‘We try not to foul because we don’t play as many kids. They, on the other hand, play very aggressively.’
The opening quarter was back and forth action, with Scottsburg’s Stephanie Bridgewater, Kristin Edwards and Ginna Napier all connecting from downtown and North’s Miller scoring 12 of her team’s 14 first-quarter points.
The hosts, who led 18-14 at the first stop after a triple by Napier and a deuce inside by Megan Hall, saw things turn for the worst in the second stanza.
Scottsburg hit just one shot (a goal by Shelley Wallace with 4:25 remaining) and was beat on the boards, 13-5, as the Lady Cats got scoring from five different players.
Morgan Carr hit a three to start the run for North, followed by a bucket by Stefany Jaso. Cassie Milburn hit a runner in the lane after Wallace’s basket, and Miller and Cannon connected for free throws to give the visitors a 24-20 lead at the half.
Miller sandwiched a pair of threes around a deuce by Cannon to give North its largest lead of the game, 32-21. Napier countered with a trey and a free throw, and teammate Hannah Stivers brought their team within six, but Cannon finished the scoring in the third period with a pair of free throws, 34-26.
Scottsburg turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth and forced 10 turnovers to get back into the game. Napier, Bridgewater, Wallace and Edwards all scored to bring the Squaws to within six and had the ball with 4:30 left to possibly get within three.
In a play that turned the tide to North’s favor for good, a pass from Edwards out top to Wallace was tipped by Milburn, then by Wallace. The ball ricocheted to the back court, where Wallace game up with the possession. An official called over-and-back.
Coach Edwards argued animately and was eventually slapped with a technical foul. Miller swished both free throws, and on the ensuing possession, Carr dropped home a pair to put the visitors ahead, 42-33.
Scottsburg later got within four on a banked three-pointer by Whitney Bridgewater, 44-40, but could get no closer.
With no consistent scorer emergingthree games into the young season, Voyles said her team’s defense is even more important. Gone are the days of leading the state in scoring.
‘We’re getting a little better every game with what we’re doing. I didn’t think we played as smart the first two games, and tonight I thought we played smart but we were probably a bit too conservative offensively,’ North’s coach said. ‘We went too much to the opposite extreme. We’ve got kids who are capable of scoring, and right now they just don’t know when to do it and when to take what.’
The Lady Cats purred from the three-point stripe, thanks in large part to Miller’s numbers (7-12). Scottsburg drained six of 21 tries.
Cannon finished with 12 points and Carr carded six. Two points each were scored by Milburn, Shroyer and Jaso.