Leading through support: Central Arkansas Christian’s Falan Miller prepares for senior campaign

Shea Stewart Published October 27, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
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Falan Miller has some simple goals for her senior season with the Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs basketball team: “To win state and finish the year strong,” Miller said.

“We’ve been working really hard in the offseason, and I really hope we can work together and win a state championship,” she said. “We’ve got a really good group of girls.”

The Mustangs, led by longtime coach Steve Quattlebaum, who has won more than 500 career games and captured three state championships, finished the 2012-13 season with a 25-9 record but were beat in the second round of the Class 4A State Tournament by Valley View.

Quattlebaum said this season’s team has a lot of experience returning, with the 5-11 Miller being one of three players who have started since their freshman year. “Hopefully, that will make a difference,” he said. “I counted, and I think we lost seven out of nine games [last season] after leading in the fourth quarter. We just didn’t finish the games. Hopefully we’ll be better at that this year. I got pretty high expectations for this bunch. We had a good summer.”

Miller averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game in 2012-13 while adding about three or four steals a game to lead the team in steals, and roughly two assists a game, Quattlebaum said. Miller earned a spot on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Sophomore Team following a 2011-12 season that saw her average 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game.

“One of her biggest assets is how versatile she is,” Quattlebaum said. “She handles the ball against the press for us a lot. She’s the person we are turning to to get the ball in the press. We play her inside and outside. She’s a great rebounder — a good offensive rebounder — [and] a good, solid shooter and scorer. She can create her own shots, and she’s probably our best defensive player. She does a lot of things well.”

Miller played several positions on the court for the Mustangs last season but spent most of her time playing either small forward or power forward. “One of the things about her that makes her a good high school player is she can play a lot of positions,” Quattlebaum said. “In junior high, we played her at point guard some. We play her now at the [power forward] position. She is probably a natural [small forward] … or [shooting guard].”

Miller also plays sweeper for the Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs soccer team, a program that has won back-to-back Class 4A state titles, with last spring’s team finishing 18-2-1 following a state-title-game win over Mena. And she credits soccer for improving her mental toughness during basketball games.

But when it comes to college, Miller, who plans to become an occupational therapist, said she plans to focus solely on basketball at Harding University, where she has a full basketball offer to which she committed over the summer.

Before college, though, Miller has a senior basketball season, and she has spent the offseason improving her jump shot.

“I’ve been working really hard on that,” she said. “I’ve been spending a lot of gym hours on that — that and my ball handling.”

Miller also knows that as a senior member of the Central Arkansas Christian basketball team, she is a leader who will be counted on if the Mustangs are to reach their goals for the 2013-14 season. Her leadership style involves supporting her fellow players during the best and worst parts of basketball games.

“[I lead by] keeping everyone lifted up and keeping people’s heads up after losing a game and not getting down,” Miller said. “Keep up momentum, and keep on encouraging. I’m an uplifter.”

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