All-Empire Small School Girls Basketball: Miller’s will overcomes

Zobee Miller of Lower Lake, the All-Empire Small School Girls Basketball Player of the Year (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Zobee Miller of Lower Lake, the All-Empire Small School Girls Basketball Player of the Year (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Lower Lake’s Zobee Miller put up numbers worthy of being selected the All-Empire Small School Girls Player of the Year, but there’s so much more to the story.

A 6-foot center who averaged 17 points and 20 rebounds, Miller did it while unable to see out of her left eye.

Glaucoma robbed her of 100 percent vision but not the will to play basketball at a high level.

“I compensate,” Miller said. “My right eye took over and does all the work. I didn’t allow myself to think about it during games.”

To protect her good eye, coach Jim Salmina got her goggles but Miller couldn’t get comfortable.

“Even seeing out of only one eye, she was the best 3-point shooter we had,” Salmina said.

“She’s the real deal. I’ve been coaching for over 20 years and she’s the best I’ve had. She does everything well. She handles the ball like a guard, she scores and she rebounds.

“She carried us this past season.”

Lower Lake had a young squad with freshmen and sophomores making up more than half the roster. The Trojans finished 7-7 in the NCL I and concluded the season by winning three of their last four.

“We definitely got better late in the year,” Miller said. “We were sad to see the season end when it did. I played volleyball in the fall and I know for me, it took time to get in rhythm for basketball.”

Miller made an impression on rival coaches.

“She’s a really good player,” St. Helena’s Oviedio Gomes said. “She’s very versatile and can go inside or outside.

“The last time we played Lower Lake, she scored 26 on us.”

Middletown coach Anthony Bazzano was just as complimentary.

“She’s tough to play against because she’s big and skilled,” he said. “She has great moves.”

Miller is seeing a specialist for her glaucoma and will have surgery in June that she hopes will improve her vision.

She plans to go to college but hasn’t decided on a school.

“My sister Adrina plays volleyball at College of the Siskiyous and I might go there,” Miller said. “I’m also looking at Sac City and California Baptist.

“Wherever I go, I plan to continue playing basketball.”

ALL-EMPIRE SMALL SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Zobee Miller, Lower Lake, Sr.

FIRST TEAM
Zaina Depina, St. Helena, Sr.
Jeannie Johnson, Kelseyville, Sr.
Amy Mora, Cloverdale, Sr.
Jacalyn Murphy, St. Vincent, Sr.
Shaylee Roberts, Cloverdale, Sr.

SECOND TEAM
Angel Bernardi, Cloverdale, Soph.
Shanice Britton, Round Valley, Sr.
Rebecca Dodele, St. Vincent, Sr.
Julie Reyes, St. Helena, Sr.
Ashlyn Welton, Middletown, Soph.

THIRD TEAM
Ashley Hart, Middletown, Sr.
Grace Jennings, St. Vincent, Sr.
Maddie Perry, St. Vincent, Sr.
Kelcie Reynolds, Clear Lake, Sr.
Kate Rosenthal, Laytonville, Sr.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Jim Fagundes, St. Vincent

Comments are closed.