Scheels Athlete of the Week: Solon Junior Miller Closes Breakthrough Season With Strong State Tournament
Your Prep Sports
It had already been a breakthrough season for Solon junior Hailey Miller.
A year after coming off the bench to average 3.5 points and 1.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore Miller had flourished her first season as a full-time starter.
Miller was a unanimous first-team all-WAMAC East Division pick and ranked second on the team in scoring while helping Solon reach the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
It was at the state tournament where Miller put the finishing touches on her breakthrough junior campaign.
Miller averaged 19 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in a pair of state tournament games helping Solon win its first game at state since 1998 and landing on the 3A all-tournament team.
“She has just grown so much,” Solon coach Jamie Smith said. “She is just a different kid from November 7th0.”
Miller had 21 points in a quarterfinal win over Dubuque Wahlert and followed that up with 17 points in a two-point semifinal loss to eventual 3A champion Sioux Center.
In two state tournament games Miller was 15-of-29 from the floor and had three assists and three steals.
“This was a big, big week for her, a big month with some really big games,” Smith said. “I’ve been saying for a long time she’s good and I think she proved it down here.”
Miller was excellent all season for the Spartans.
The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 11.5 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 62 percent from the free throw line.
Miller added 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game to help Solon to a 23-3 record.
She was at her best in the first state tournament win for the Spartans in 25 years.
Miller had 10 of her game-high 21 points in the win over Dubuque Wahlert in the fourth quarter as Solon rallied from a four-point deficit.
“We knew we had to start driving more because they were big and we thought we could get to the basket or get to the free throw line,” Miller said. “We knew we had to go.”
With the quarterfinal contest against Dubuque Wahlert tied at 44-all, Miller scored six consecutive points as Solon closed the game on a 10-2.
“She’s good, she’s a winner,” Smith said. “We’ve known for a long time how good she is and we are really seeing that now.”
Miller was equally impressive in the semifinal loss to Sioux Center finishing with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with five rebounds.
She is one of four Solon starters that will return next season, a list that includes first-team all-state point guard Callie Levin, junior Mia Stahle and sophomore Kobi Lietz.
Junior post Anna Quillin will also be back for Solon which hopes to use the strong state tournament experience as a springboard for even more next season.
“We have a lot of girls coming back,” Miller said. “We have a lot of girls coming back that have played, that have played at the state tournament so hopefully this experience helps us next year.”
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by donating.