by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Devell Miller, one of those guys who plays bigger than he looks, came up big in several categories to help Elk River overcome Maple Grove 58-47 at home Friday evening.
The 5-foot-11 junior forward was one of three Elks scoring 14 points, while leading the team with seven rebounds and four assists. He also blocked a shot and made a steal.
“Devell plays with a lot of energy, works hard on defense, and can rebound well at times,” said Randy Klasen. “He plays lot bigger than 5-foot-11 and goes up strong on traffic. He also sees the floor real well.”
Clay Elrod and Mitchell Weege also sank 14 points as the Elks improved to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the NWSC.
Miller, also a running back and defensive back on the football team, is one of the new basketball starters this year. Agains the Crimson, he matched his personal high for points as he shot 6-for-12, including one 3-pointer and one breakaway layup after a steal.
“I shot a lot tonight. Coach let me do what I wanted to do because my guy was sagging off of me,” said Miller.
The Elks got off to a slow start but were up 25-17 at halftime led by Miller with nine points.
“We started kind of slow because we didn’t run the fast break right,” he said. “We had to calm down a little.”
Brad Davison, a freshman guard, led the Crimson with 14 points. Senior forward Mathew Lindgren was next with nine. Maple Grove (6-5 overall) is 2-5 in the conference but has played all the top teams, most of them competitively, said Klasen.
The Elk coached praised his team’s defense which has played well except for one lopsided loss to Champlin Park.
“Our defense is keeping us in games, because the kids work so hard,” said Klasen. “They are buying into what we do. We don’t want to be a good defensive club; we want to be a great defensive club … The kids in our program know that if you want to play you better be able to defend.”
The Elks will play at Armstrong on Tuesday evening.
Elk River scoring — Matt Keller 4, Zach Ernst 4, Jarin Haywood 4, Zeke Delain 2, Clay Elrod 14 (5 reb), Trent Pink 2, Mitchell Weege 14, Devell Miller 14 (7 reb, 4 ast)