RICHMOND — Edison guard Carole Miller didn’t receive the treatment typically reserved for star seniors playing in their final game. Instead of leaving to cheers near the end of the Virginia Class 5 state championship game, Miller remained on the court until the final buzzer sounded on Edison’s 69-55 loss to Princess Anne.
Coach Dianne Lewis wanted Miller, a centerpiece of Edison’s teams the past four years, to enjoy her final moments in her navy blue Eagles jersey, as the clock ran out at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center.
Miller guided Edison (27-2) to its second straight state final, but the Virginia signee’s 15 points and 10 rebounds weren’t enough as the No. 4 Eagles fell to Princess Anne, which has won six straight titles.
“As the final buzzer sounded, I guess the past four years just ran through my mind,” Miller said. “It’s not really going to [sink in] until next week when we’re not at practice anymore.”
While attending Lewis’s annual youth summer camp, Miller met her future coach in elementary school. Miller was taller than the other youngsters, so Lewis had a feeling Miller could flourish into a star when she reached the Alexandria school.
At the time, soccer was Miller’s favorite sport. Lewis changed Miller’s mind in high school.
Miller started on the basketball team as a freshman, and the 5-foot-11 guard cemented herself as a top Northern Virginia player her sophomore year, when she scored 36 points in a double-overtime loss to Highland Springs in the Virginia Class 5 semifinals.
“Seeing her that game, that was the most proud I’ve ever been of her,” Edison guard Charlotte Jewell said. “She put that work in.”
The Eagles’ only regular season defeat this year came against No. 1 St. John’s in December.
On Wednesday, Edison led after the first quarter but couldn’t keep up with the Cavaliers’ size. Princess Anne (26-1), a Virginia Beach powerhouse that claimed its 10th state title, attempted 27 more free throws than its counterpart. Edison is 1-4 in state championship games.
“We have nothing to hang our heads for,” Lewis said.
A year ago, after scoring a game-high 20 points in Edison’s loss to Princess Anne, Miller proclaimed her optimism for her senior season. On Wednesday, she sat quietly at a news conference table while her teammates and Lewis spoke about their desire to win next season’s state crown, with only three seniors graduating.
But that isn’t Lewis’s only objective for next season.
“I will be in the stands, with the orange and blue on, cheering her on,” Lewis said about Miller. “I wish she could play another year, but I’m not saying goodbye to her.”