2017-12-07 / Sports

Miller, Popp propel Leland past Wildcats

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor


LELAND GUARD Garett Miller goes up for a dunk attempt during a season-opening home win over Northport on Tuesday. Miller came up short on the dunk — but not in the game by any means. He finished with a game-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds and five steals. Photo: Dan Duffiney LELAND GUARD Garett Miller goes up for a dunk attempt during a season-opening home win over Northport on Tuesday. Miller came up short on the dunk — but not in the game by any means. He finished with a game-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds and five steals. Photo: Dan Duffiney Last year, Leland guard Garett Miller began an impressive junior season with 26 points in a 48-31 loss at Northport.

“We took it on the chin in that first game last year,” Leland coach Jon Kiessel said.

Miller matched the offensive output with a 26-point showing in Tuesday’s opener to go with 10 rebounds and five steals — and he had a bit more help this time.

Much of it came from freshman point guard JJ Popp, who finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and five assists in his varsity debut, a 49-35 win over the Wildcats.

“As a freshman playing his first varsity game, that’s not too bad,” Kiessel said. “He did a great job running the floor for us. He was pretty darn poised for a young man. As the guys adjust to having a player like him, this season could be a lot of fun. He just sees the floor really well.”

Kiessel said Miller, the reigning Leelanau County scoring leader, shot 5-of-10 from 3-point land and seemingly had to work for every bucket.

Northport senior guard Brett Dyer made life difficult.

“They sent different guys to Garett all night,” Kiessel said, “but it seemed like everywhere Garett went, Brett was there.”

Northport coach Dan Stowe said Dyer set the tone for his team and put together a strong defensive effort.

That said, Miller was too much.

He finished the game in a No. 44 jersey, Kiessel said, after blood got on his No. 22 jersey in the first half.

“We had a difficult time stopping Miller tonight,” Stowe said. “He is a fun player to watch.”

Ethan Pino led the way for the Wildcats offensively with 13 points; Austin John added 10 points.

The Comets were impressive defensively, particularly in a second quarter in which they outscored Northport 11-4.

Leland led 23-10 at the half and 30-20 through three quarters.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Kiessel said.

Leland is slated to play at St. Mary tonight; Northport will host Bay City All Saints on Saturday.

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