She’s not really known for firing up 3-pointers, but that may soon change after the performance she turned in against No. 6 Anniston during the Class 4A, Area 10 tournament championship game on Saturday.
Griffith connected on five 3-pointers in the game, and the fifth-ranked Lady Warriors needed every one of those to pull out a 55-53 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Griffith finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four steals for Cherokee County (25-3), which defeated Anniston (25-4) for the third time this season and improved to 12-0 at home.
The Lady Warriors’ reward for the victory is a home sub-regional game on Thursday against the winner of Monday’s Class 4A, Area 9 championship game between St. Clair County and Childersburg. Anniston will travel to the loser of that game, also on Thursday.
“Tonight I just lucked out, and my shots were falling,” Griffith said. “My teammates kept getting me the ball and I kept shooting it. I just had the good hand tonight and kept us in there.”
Anniston coach Eddie Bullock noted that was the first time Griffith “actually scored against us like that.”
“She had wide-open looks, with no hand in her face,” he said. “She just knocked them down, and that’s what leaders do.”
Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes said Griffith “just seemed like she was in the zone.”
“Sometimes from players you just get that,” Barnes said. “She was shooting from 10-feet behind the arc and hit nothing but net. She really stepped up and showed her senior leadership.”
Another senior who stepped up for the Lady Warriors was forward Deidra Davis. Davis netted 15 points, grabbed three rebounds and had three assists.
“We know what to expect from them (Anniston),” Davis said. “Every time we play, we have to expect their best. We have to play up to our potential, and we did that tonight.”
The Lady Warriors led the majority of the game. They held a 12-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter, a 31-27 lead at the half and was up 48-43 at the end of three quarters. Their largest lead of 10 points came on a Davis bucket with 4:03 left in the game, but the Lady Bulldogs didn’t back down.
Anniston managed to whittle the Lady Warrior lead to just two points at 55-53 on a pair of free throws by Patricia Pickens with 23.3 seconds remaining.
Pickens led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points, including a 9-of-10 performance at the free-throw line.
After Griffith missed a free throw with 14.5 seconds left, Anniston’s Daica Wilson had a chance to tie the game after being fouled by the Lady Warriors’ Chelsea Ray. Wilson missed both attempts, but the Lady Bulldogs had one last chance to tie or earn the victory after another missed free throw by Griffith with 6.8 seconds to go.
After a timeout, the Lady Bulldogs in-bounded the ball just past mid-court, but Tiakeefah Huguley’s desperation 3-pointer fell short as time expired.
Huguley, along with Tanjanik Munford, finished with nine points.
“The last play of the game, we just didn’t execute,” Bullock said. “We’ve got a play for that situation, but we just didn’t execute it. We were moving before the ball was in, and that’s part of being disciplined. That’s my fault.
“We’ve got to learn to execute for four quarters and stop taking stretches off. We’ll take stretches where we execute and we’re unstoppable, but we’ll hit stretches where we don’t execute.”
Tori Davis added six points for Cherokee County. Jessen Burk came away with five points. Kaitlyn Stokes finished with four points, four rebounds and four assists.