Northeast Times

Miller, Broaster lead epic comeback for Fels

Rev the en­gine: Head girls bas­ket­ball coach George Ewerth called Kristina Miller (cen­ter) and Larkeasha Broast­er the “gas that makes the en­gine run” for the Lady Pan­thers. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

— Down 11 with four minutes to play, two Lady Pan­thers helped de­liv­er one of the biggest wins in pro­gram his­tory.

Kristina Miller said she was nervous. Her coach said she was un­der the weath­er.

In pro­pelling her team to one of its biggest, most thrill­ing wins in pro­gram his­tory, Miller looked any­thing but.

Even though it was a reg­u­lar sea­son game in early Janu­ary, last Wed­nes­day brought a post­season at­mo­sphere to Samuel Fels High School. Not only would the Lady Pan­ther bas­ket­ball pro­gram be play­ing one of the top pro­grams in the Pub­lic League in North­east High School, but the game would be broad­cast on The Sports Fan Base Net­work (www.sports­fan­base.com), an on­line sports me­dia Web site that has re­cently made loc­al high school ath­let­ics view­able for those un­able to at­tend the game.

Down 31-20 to North­east with roughly four minutes re­main­ing in the game, Fels used a furi­ous rally to score the fi­nal 15 points en route to a 35-31 vic­tory that saw its large con­tin­gent of sup­port­ers rush the court in ju­bil­a­tion when the fi­nal buzzer soun­ded.

Fa­cing a 31-30 de­fi­cit with less than 12 seconds to go without the ball, the Lady Pan­thers nev­er blinked, in large part due to Miller’s hero­ics. Need­ing a turnover, Miller, who was bothered by a stom­ach vir­us all day, stole North­east’s in­bounds pass and was fouled on a dif­fi­cult shot that some­how went in. 

BEAT­ING THE ODDS

It was just that kind of day for the seni­or cap­tain, who re­fused to be denied one of the biggest wins of her high school ca­reer.

“We haven’t beaten North­east since I’ve gone to school here,” she said af­ter­ward. “I was able to just sneak in and grab the ball on that play (that won the game). This team knows that if we keep a pos­it­ive at­ti­tude, we can beat any school. We proved that today.”

Not only did Miller make the game’s biggest play, she also kept the Lady Pan­thers in the game in the third quarter when the Fels of­fense went stag­nant. Sens­ing her team needed a boost, Miller con­ver­ted three straight three-point­ers on con­sec­ut­ive pos­ses­sions, turn­ing an 18-11 de­fi­cit in­to a 20-20 tie. The crowd, which had grown weary of missed shots and turnovers, sud­denly re­turned to life.

“We did need the points, and I’m a shoot­er by nature,” Miller said. “Once I hit the first one, the crowd got me go­ing. If I had missed that first one, I prob­ably wouldn’t have shot it again. I’m so proud of my team, es­pe­cially ‘Mr.’ Fourth Quarter right here.”

Miller was re­fer­ring to ju­ni­or team­mate Larkeasha Broast­er, stand­ing im­me­di­ately to her right in the cor­ridor out­side the swim­ming pool at Fels. Miller was the lead­ing scorer at 15 for the game, but Broast­er’s 14 wer­en’t far be­hind. Not only that, but Broast­er scored nine of those in a ten­a­cious fi­nal quarter to go along with 12 total re­bounds. Of Fels’ 35 points for the game, the duo of Miller and Broast­er scored 29 of them. Like Miller, she also praised the home crowd.

“That’s the Fels Pan­thers for you,” Broast­er said. “I love my school. The way we played this game, that’s how we’ve got to play all of them. I’m just so proud of them. I’m too happy, I can’t even talk.”

TEAM EN­GIN­EERS

Head coach George Ewerth had plenty to say about both play­ers, call­ing them the “gas that makes the en­gine run.” In his second sea­son as head bas­ket­ball coach, Ewerth (who also coaches the boys soc­cer team) said this was ex­actly the type of state­ment win that he and ath­let­ic dir­ect­or Mark Heimerdinger had hoped for as they con­tin­ue to es­tab­lish a strong ath­let­ic pro­gram at a once-but-no-longer-for­got­ten school.

“What really helped us today was our fans — they were our sixth man,” Ewerth said. “We’ve been try­ing to build a fan base for girls bas­ket­ball over here, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion, from prin­cip­al Shawn McGuigan to Mark, have been so sup­port­ive. I just really want to thank them, as well as our fans. I just ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tun­ity to coach at Fels.”

The Lady Pan­thers cur­rently sit at 3-3 over­all and were already think­ing play­offs after the game. And while the win over the Vik­ings (4-2) was cer­tainly an ac­com­plish­ment, Ewerth warned of the pos­sib­il­ity of the play­ers’ heads get­ting too big, something he is hop­ing to avoid, es­pe­cially after a 45-37 loss to Lin­coln two days later.

“We will deal with that,” the coach said. “They’re talk­ing this and that, and that’s fine, be­cause they’re kids and they get ex­cited. But I want them wor­ry­ing about scor­ing the next point.”

However, there were no ques­tions about this be­ing a great day for Samuel Fels. For Miller, she got one of her biggest wins as a stu­dent-ath­lete at Fels, while play­ers who will be around next sea­son, such as Broast­er, can use the ex­per­i­ence as a spring­board for fu­ture suc­cess.

“Everything we did, we did to­geth­er,” Broast­er said. ••

Sports Ed­it­or Ed Mor­rone can be reached at 215-354-3035 or em­or­rone@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus