By Wes Morgan
Special for Second Half
For anyone complaining about not having enough hours in the day, meet Three Rivers sophomore Hadley Miller, whose productivity within a 24-hour span is nothing short of stunning.
She’s one of those rare student-athletes who, as if there aren’t enough games to play, seemingly makes it a competition with herself to see how much she can pack into a given day.
After completing varsity seasons with the Three Rivers volleyball and basketball teams, Miller will now start a spring regimen that begins at 4:30 a.m. each day and includes a taxing weight-room workout, a full day of school, track practice, soccer practice, homework, sustenance crammed in between, and then a few hours of sleep to recharge the battery.
Miller is coming off an all-Wolverine Conference first-team performance in basketball after guiding the Wildcats to a 19-4 record this season, which ended in a Class B District Final loss to Edwardsburg last week.
Miller averaged 18.6 points, 3.0 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game, leading the team in scoring for a second straight year. The Wildcats were 17-3 during the regular season and finished second to Edwardsburg in the Wolverine Conference South.
She’s one of the latest in a line of underclassmen at Three Rivers to emerge as a big-time playmaker, particularly at the guard/point guard positions. Teammate Kali Heivilin, a freshman, earned an all-conference second-team nod.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Three Rivers girls basketball coach Jason Bingaman said. “Some is the system we play and our focus at the defensive end that can make the transition easier (for younger players). Specifically, from the individual though, (Miller’s) skill set, basketball IQ, and then how hard a player works has a lot to do with their performance, and I have been very fortunate to coach some players that are individually dedicated to basketball and have families that have invested time in their daughters’ development.”
Both Bingaman and Miller landed on team chemistry as the most important variable when it comes to youngsters integrating well at the varsity level.
“If upperclassmen understand how the younger player can help us be successful and are great teammates, it makes it an easier transition,” Bingaman explained. “Every player isn’t going to progress at the same rate, and each player is not brought up for the same reason as the next, but if the aforementioned things are in place, it makes it more likely for a player to be successful.”
Miller’s humility and dedication to all four of her teams at Three Rivers is unquestioned, which makes the process of gaining respect from the upperclassmen that much easier. In terms of hoops, she said the team’s success really was a matter of player rapport after losing five seniors from 2016-17.
“We all clicked well,” Miller said. “Since we played a year together and know how we like to play, going into next year we are going to be even more confident.”
Bingaman said confidence is where Miller made a big leap from her freshman year to her sophomore campaign.
“The big thing in general is her confidence level and mental approach,” he said. “I believe she felt she could have an impact last year, but there was an adjustment period, and as she became more comfortable last season, we became better as a team. She has found out how to deal with teams being physical with her and being patient.
“This year I have thrown a lot at her in terms of what she is responsible for. I moved her from the wing to running our offense as the point guard over Christmas break due to injuries and she has run with it, all while increasing her minutes on the floor.”
Miller has proven she can do plenty in a matter of minutes with a mastery of time management. This month she transitions to soccer as a defender for the Wildcats, and to the track & field team, where she hopes to make a return trip to the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals. Miller was part of the 1,600-meter relay team with Stephanie McLochlin, Shelby Krawczak and Arionne Fowlkes that placed 17th overall in 2017.
Throw in club basketball in April and Miller will be constantly on the move well into the summer.
“I like to keep in shape and keep busy,” she said. “I really like to do sports. So why not? It all fits in there somewhere.”
Wes Morgan has reported for the Kalamazoo Gazette, ESPN and ESPNChicago.com, 247Sports and Blue & Gold Illustrated over the last 12 years and is the publisher of JoeInsider.com. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Three Rivers' Hadley Miller, right, hands off the baton during a track relay last season. (Middle) Miller, far left, readies for a pass during a volleyball match at Vicksburg in the fall. (Photos courtesy of JoeInsider.com.)
Another girls basketball season is underway, and the best from 2022-23 are wasting no time seeing how they match up this winter.
Every Monday through the MHSAA Finals in March we’ll look back at the previous week’s results that were most attention-grabbing across the state, highlight a few programs in every division on the rise and glance at some of the games coming up that pop off the page most. One week in, and we’ve already had our share of headline-grabbers with more immediately on the way – read on for details.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
2. Detroit Renaissance 53, Lansing Catholic 46 The Phoenix (2-0), a Division 1 semifinalist last season, earned the headliner for opening week by edging the reigning Division 2 champion Cougars (0-1).
2. Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep 45, Maple City Glen Lake 38 The Irish (3-0) reached the Division 4 Quarterfinals last season, and highlighted the first week of this one with this win over the reigning champion Lakers (2-1).
3. Lake Linden-Hubbell 48, Baraga 45 The Lakes (2-0) went a combined 1-2 against Baraga (1-1) last season – with a District Final loss as the Vikings went on to finish Division 4 runners-up.
4. Howell 60, Farmington Hills Mercy 59 Gabby Piepho scored 34 points to lead Howell (2-0) past Mercy (0-1), a Division 1 Regional finalist last season.
5. Frankenmuth 53, Freeland 51 On a night when Frankenmuth honored late star Keri Frahm, a 2016 grad who died in a car crash in October, the Eagles (2-0) held on for what no doubt will be a key league win over the Falcons (1-1).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Bloomfield Hills Marian (2-0) A rough start last season turned into a 10-14 finish for Marian, but the Mustangs did win six of their last seven games and picked right back up with a 2-0 start last week. Marian opened with a 57-44 win over Imlay City, avenging a six-point loss from last winter, and then defeated Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest.
Milford (2-0) The Mavericks are off to a quick start under new coach Tim Olszewski, who came to Milford after a successful run at Howell. They edged Fowlerville 27-23 and then defeated Waterford Mott, after ending last season with a District Semifinal loss to Olszewski’s Highlanders.
Detroit Country Day (2-0) Past star Amber Deane’s first season as coach ended impressively with a 17-7 record and triple-overtime loss to Goodrich in a Regional Final, and she has Country Day off to a fast start. The Yellowjackets doubled up Birmingham Groves to open and defeated Tecumseh 66-52 at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep’s Ice Breaker Classic; Tecumseh finished 20-5 last season.
Shepherd (2-0) After building from seven wins two seasons ago to a 10-13 finish last winter, Shepherd may be on the verge of another advance. The BlueJays opened by edging Beal City 42-40 – Beal City won 14 games last season – and then defeated Gladwin 55-50 in double overtime.
Evart (2-0) The Wildcats’ matchups with Lake City last season had Highland Conference and statewide implications – Evart won the first, but Lake City won the next two to claim league and District titles. Evart has the early upper hand again, following up last week’s 20-point win over Reed City with a 42-41 victory over the Trojans.
Perry (2-0) The Ramblers have improved from zero to four to six wins over the last three seasons, respectively, and are well on their way to increasing that total again. Perry opened with a 38-37 win over Morrice (after losing to the Orioles last season) and 44-27 victory over Byron, and have another fresh start moving to the Central Michigan Athletic Conference this winter.
Colon (2-0) The Magi finished 21-5 last season, reaching the Division 4 Regional Finals before falling to Hackett (highlighted above). Colon began this one with a 52-33 win over Adrian Lenawee Christian, which made the Semifinals last winter, before defeating Battle Creek St. Philip big to finish the week.
Lutheran Westland (2-0) The Warriors are another team quickly pursuing an improvement over last season, when they finished 10-14. They opened with a 44-24 win over Ann Arbor Greenhills, then defeated Whitmore Lake 28-19 – Whitmore Lake downed Westland twice last season on the way to winning the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Red title.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Wednesday – Kingston (2-0) at Goodrich (2-0) – These two finished a combined 49-6 last winter, with Kingston reaching the Division 4 Quarterfinals and Goodrich playing in the Division 2 Semifinals.
Thursday – Salem (2-0) at West Bloomfield (0-0) – This is a rematch from last season’s Division 1 Semifinals, won by West Bloomfield, and headlines the Kensington Lakes Activities Association/Oakland Activities Association Challenge.
Friday – Rockford (2-0) at Muskegon (1-1) – The reigning Division 1 champion Rams travel to take on the Big Reds, who are looking to avenge last season’s 19-point loss after which they went 15-5 to finish the winter.
Saturday – Detroit Edison (0-0) vs. Detroit Country Day (2-0) at Belleville – This is arguably the most intriguing matchup from the Best of Michigan Holiday Classic and matches teams with high aspirations in Division 2.
Saturday – Midland Dow (1-1) vs. Salem (2-0) at Belleville – This Best of Michigan game matches a Dow program that’s regularly among Division 1 contenders with a Salem team that joined the elite last season.
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PHOTOS (Top) Flint Powers Catholic and Davison face off in a season opener, won by the Chargers 73-41. (Middle) An Otsego player puts up a shot during her team's 44-35 loss to Portage Central. (Top photo by Terry Lyons; middle photo by Gary Shook.)