2018-01-04 / Sports

Leland senior captures early lead in scoring race


LELAND SENIOR Garett Miller leads all Leelanau County players in scoring after pouring in 26, 30 and 18 points in his first three games, respectively. LELAND SENIOR Garett Miller leads all Leelanau County players in scoring after pouring in 26, 30 and 18 points in his first three games, respectively. By next week, Garett Miller and his Leland teammates should know where they stand in the landscape of Leelanau County basketball — they’ll have played every county team at least once.

That said, there’ll still be a lot to learn about Leland (2-1, 0-1 Northwest).

“It’s been a funny start to the season. (We’ve had) three kids with wisdom teeth out,” Leland coach Jon Kiessel said. “We haven’t had a full squad at practice yet, and we certainly haven’t settled into a lineup or where we’re going to be down the road.”

The Comets opened 2017-18 with a 49-35 win over Northport and followed it up with a 64-56 win at Lake Leelanau St. Mary but were overwhelmed by Glen Lake in an 82-50 home loss.

One constant in all three contests was offensive production from the county’s top scorer, Miller, a senior guard who is putting up 24.7 points per game. He averaged a county-high 24.1 points per game a season ago.

“Garett can score,” Kiessel said. “He can rebound. He can follow his shot well. He’s shooting well, about 35 percent from 3. And he can finish around the basket. The deeper we get into our conference, the more physical it will get. We’ll see how that plays out, but he’s been great. Super positive.”

He’s had help, too.

JJ Popp, a freshman, is scoring 10.3 points per game while Chris Ursu, who missed the first two games, scored 12 in his debut against Glen Lake.

“We have a ton of guys who could go for 15 a night,” Kiessel said. “Everyone on this squad can do it.”

Another early season emphasis for Kiessel and the Comets is cleaning the glass with a bit more authority.

To him, it’s a mentality.

“On the defensive end, we’d like to get the majority of rebounds — but the numbers say that hasn’t been the case,” Kiessel said. “Hopefully that changes as time goes on. Obviously Glen Lake is going to skew those numbers a bit, but it’s definitely a focus. ... The attention to having a rebounding mindset is what we’re trying to fix. And we aren’t tiny, so we should be doing a better job. We have some reach.”

Rebounding could be key against Northwest Conference foes, who went 14-2 against the Comets a season ago. Leland will look to flip the script on Tuesday as it heads to Suttons Bay.

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