Freshman guard Katie Miller eupted for a game-high 20 points in leading Honesdale to a District Two quarterfinal victory over Crestwood. The Red & Black now advance to Wednesday's Class AAA semifinal and a showdown with Dallas.
When Crestwood raced out to a quick 7-0 lead in Saturday's District Two quarterfinal at North Pocono, Katie Miller didn't panic.
Honesdale’s freshman point guard did what she's quietly done all season long...she kept her cool and led the Lady Hornets back into contention.
Miller helped ignite a 15-4 run to close out the first quarter and suddenly the tide had turned.
"I was a little bit worried, but I knew it was just a matter of time before we got it going," Miller told TWI Sports. "We had trouble with their press at first, but we figured it out."
Coach Tracy Ludwig was quick to agree with her young hoops prodigy.
"I really think it was just a case of nerves," she said of her team's early turnover troubles. "We called timeout and got them settled down... and, from there on things started to get better."
They certainly did.
Honesdale outscored Crestwood 15-11 in the opening stanza, then took a 30-21 lead at intermission, thanks to a buzzer beater from Miller.
"That was huge," said Coach Ludwig. "Katie's shot before the half gave us all kinds of momentum and we put it to good use."
The Lady Hornets were never threatened the rest of the way as Miller closed out the day with a game-high 20 points in leading the Red & Black to an impressive 61-43 win.
Next up for Honesdale is a berth in the Class AAA semifinals. Coach Ludwig's girls will travel to Marywood University on Wednesday for a showdown with Dallas.
The Mounties upset top-ranked Holy Redeemer in their match-up, a development that Miller welcomes with a big smile.
"We can definitely beat Dallas," Katie said. "We have amazing chemistry. We play really well together. I have a lot of confidence in us..."
Opening tip for this D-2 battle is set for 6:00 p.m. at the Insalaco Arena.
Honesdale got a taste of its own medicine early on in Saturday's ballgame.
The Lady Hornets have made a habit of using their suffocating defense to make life miserable for enemy ballhandlers. However, Crestwood turned the tables on the local lasses. The Comets forced nine first quarter turnovers and jetted out to a 7-0 lead.
After that initial timeout, Honesdale settled down and got its offense untracked. Mary Martin broke the scoring ice with an acrobatic bucket in the lane. From that point on, the Red & Black simply dominated.
"It's funny how things have evolved this year," said Coach Ludwig. "When we started off the season, Mary was our point guard. Now, here we are in late February and Mary is our big girl in the paint."
Martin powered her way to 12 points on the night, including another perfect night at the charity stripe (2-for-2). While Mary once again demonstrated invaluable on-court leadership, it was Honesdale's freshmen guards who dazzled on this day.
Morgan Birmelin, who has been a fixture at the off-guard spot since mid-season, tickled the twine for 11 points.
Miller was Crestwood's worst nightmare, raining down buckets from all over the court. Katie would finish up with a game-high 20. She rattled home seven field goals, went 3-for-5 at the line and buried that all-important halftime buzzer beater.
"Sometimes I forget that Katie is still just a freshman," said Coach Ludwig. "It's kind of an easy mistake to make because she's so calm out there. Katie never seems to get rattled no matter what the situation."
Honesdale extended its double digit lead to 47-31 at the end of three quarters. That advantage ballooned to 20 midway through the final period and eventually settled in at 18 as time expired.
Kacie Johannes and Abby Rickard also contributed key plays to the Lady Hornets cause. Johannes, who appears back near 100% after a recent illness, scored eight points while Rickard drilled a deep trey and wound up with seven.
Score by Quarters...
HON (20-5) 15 15 17 14 - 61
CRS (15-8) 11 10 10 12 - 43