NHS guard takes in All-Star experience

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 26, 2012

Natchez High School’s Keyana Miller throws during a passing drill Tuesday morning during a summer workout at the high school. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Keyana Miller got a bit of a head start in terms of game action this summer.

The Natchez High School guard was selected in February to the South squad for the Mississippi North-South All-Star game, and Miller was able to see plenty of playing time in the game in Clinton July 11.

Though the South eventually lost to the North, Miller said the experience was good for her as she prepares for her senior year of high school.

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“I liked being in the game,” Miller said. “There was all the competition from the North and the South, so it was a good chance for me to compete. When you compete against the best, you’re going to give it your best.”

Despite a coaching change mid-season this past winter, Miller said she was able to fight through all of the distractions in order to make the all-star squad.

“It was the encouragement of my teammates that helped me fight through,” Miller said. “All of us stuck together. We weren’t worrying about what was going on around us, just what was going on, on the floor.”

Even considering the level of competition, Miller said she wasn’t intimidated going into the all-star game.

Natchez High School’s Keyana Miller goes up for a layup during a drill Tuesday morning during a summer workout at the high school. Miller, a senior, competed on the South squad in the Mississippi North-South All-Star game July 11 in Clinton. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

“I was confident the whole time, because we were all selected because of our talent,” Miller said. “My only worry was about the different personalities coming together for one game to play the north.”

That issue came up during the game, Miller said.

“We had to get over the differences in our personalities and learn to distribute the ball,” Miller said. “Some of them weren’t really ball hogging, but there were situations where they probably should have passed the ball.”

The biggest difference in the game, though, was the turnovers.

“We turned the ball over a lot,” Miller said. “I think the other team got a boost of energy (at the half), and their defense was intimidating. We weren’t taking care of the ball.”

Despite the loss, Miller said she learned something about herself: She prefers playing shooting guard rather than point guard. In the All-Star game, she was primarily a shooting guard.

“It’s easier for me to focus on shooting,” Miller said.

With the game over, Miller has turned her attention back to her final season with the Lady Bulldogs. Under new head coach Alphaka Moore, Miller said she has high hopes for this season.

“I think we can come together and make a run at state,” Miller said. “We’re together now, we just have to get together when we’re on the floor. We’re all really close, like sisters.”

And Moore has impressed Miller in Moore’s limited time as a head coach.

“I think she’s a great leader,” Miller said. “I love her as a coach. She’ll push you to the best of your ability. She’s a good coach.”