With league losses to Timberline and Capital last week, the Peninsula High boys basketball team is off to a slow start in the South Sound Conference.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Seahawks. One bright spot has been the play of 6-foot-2 senior guard Sam Miller, who has been one of the team’s steadiest players and is playing the best basketball of his high school career as a center.
Miller added some muscle in the offseason and has been knocking down shots in the early-going, adding another offensive weapon in addition to forward Seth Kasteler and guard Elijah McLaughlin.
“We knew it was coming,” Peninsula coach Matt Robles said of Miller’s breakout.
Miller was a solid contributor for the Seahawks last year, but battled some injuries and never quite got into the rhythm he wanted to. It’s a different story this year, as he’s been one of the team’s top scoring threats. Through four games, Miller is averaging 11.8 points per game and is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
“I’m feeling good,” Miller said.
Miller played down his individual accomplishments after Peninsula’s 0-2 start, insisting he was more concerned about winning than racking up stats.
“It doesn’t mean anything if we’re not winning games,” he said after the loss to Capital. “I’m just trying to help this team do what we can, whether it’s score, rebound, pass, defend. If we’re not winning, it doesn’t matter.”
Still, Robles has been pleased by the contributions from his senior guard and team leader.
“Last year, for whatever reason, he struggled,” Robles said. “Injuries, other things. So (being healthy), plus getting some big-time game experience, has given him the confidence to come out and play the way he has so far. It’s nice to see Sam be Sam again. We know what he’s capable of.”
Miller has been a bit more aggressive in creating shots for himself early this season.
“He’s really assertive and has stepped up in a leadership role,” Robles said. “He’s scoring the basketball for us, he’s defending. That’s not a surprise. We knew that was going to happen. It’s nice to see that.”
Peninsula started last season slowly also. Robles is banking on his team turning things around again this season. If the Seahawks do, Miller’s strong play should be a factor.
“He’s putting in a lot of work,” Robles said. “It’s going to keep paying off. We’re going to need him.”
Peninsula hits the road to face crosstown rival Gig Harbor on Friday (Dec. 15). Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.