Christine Miller arrived at Maranacook Community High School ready to play varsity basketball, something Coach Jeannine Paradis noticed right away.
“Even as a freshman when it came down to the wire she always wanted the ball in her hands,” Paradis said.
Now a junior, Miller has continued to mature as an all-around player. She led the Black Bears in scoring for the third straight year and is only 88 points shy of 1,000 for her career. But her value goes further.
“Her big numbers aren’t just in points,” Paradis said. “It’s in assists and rebounds and steals.”
Miller averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals a game this year for Maranacook and led the Black Bears to an overall record of 14-6 and a berth in the Western Maine Class C semifinals. For her efforts, Miller has been named Kennebec Journal Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Also considered was Cony’s Emily Quirion.
A strong 5-foot-11, Miller appears the ideal high school post player, but she has three-point range on her shot and often begins her offense on the perimeter.
“I don’t really see my game in the post, but I can do it,” Miller said.
Miller is currently playing for her AAU team, the Maineiacs, headquartered in Brunswick, and usually plays guard. She’ll continue to work in the fall on her game, which she began playing at age 5.
“I just grew up with it and I really love it,” she said. “I’m really competitive and like that about it.”
Although Maranacook dropped to Class C this season due to a decline in enrollment, the school maintained its tough Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference e Class B schedule and came through it well, finishing at 13-5.
“I was actually really pleased with how I played and how my team played,” said Miller, who was named KVAC Class B Player of the Year.
Among notable performances for Miller this season was a 30-point effort against Morse, a game-winning basket at the buzzer against Gardiner and her first half against Carrabec in the tournament. Miller scored 11 of her 18 points in the first quarter against Carrabec, prompting Coach Skip Rugh to switch to a zone defense.
“The first half in our Carrabec playoff game the look in her eye was she meant business,” Paradis said. “That first half she looked amazing.”
Miller improved her foot-speed this season as well as her outside shooting. She’ll need both skills as she prepares to most likely play on the perimeter in college. “I just want to keep improving and getting faster and stronger, too, so I can take it to the basket.” she said.
She’s unsure what level she’d like to play at but as the No. 2 ranked student in her class, Miller will have some interesting academic and athletic options.
“I’m going to try to get a good balance of the two,” she said.
Paradis said Miller’s a strong leader who tries to encourage her teammates and is light-hearted off the basketball court.
“She’s a great kid,” Paradis said. “I completely enjoy being her coach.”