Griffin equals amazing
Whenever Tiaria Griffin has the basketball in her hands, she is abig force to be dealt with. She makes her opponents go crazy tryingto find ways to defend her. Only a junior, Griffin has been a3-year starter for Lawrence County and was one of the main leaderswho helped the Lady Cougars march to the State 4A Girls Finals inJackson’s Mississippi Coliseum.
Griffin’s athletic talent dazzled basketball fans and opposingteams. She surprised defenders with her ability to score in the lowpost or from long range and rattled opponents with her defensiveskills. She averaged 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 assistsper game as she helped the Lady Cougars compile a 26-9 record,while claiming the Regional 7-4A crown and South 4A girlstitle.
That kind of performance has earned Griffin the title of MissBasketball and Most Valuable Player on The DAILY LEADER’s 2011All-Area Girls Basketball Team. She’s the first MVP from LawrenceCounty since Angela Atterberry claimed the honor in 1995.
Joining Griffin on this year’s Dream Team are Mary MargaretMcLaurin and Taylor Brister of Lawrence County, Vintrice Briggs andJessica Jackson of Franklin County, Keaira Patterson of McComb,Kellen Choate of Parklane Academy and Kaylan Hughes of North Pike.The team includes players from outside Lincoln County and wasselected by the DL sports staff, with input provided by area highschool and college coaches.
Griffin, age 16, is a very talented athlete and plans to go tocollege to earn a degree in journalism. Her friends often teaseher, saying she was born with a basketball in her hands.
When asked about her basketball team and her big sister Tyra,Griffin said, “Our team is so tight that we are like sisters and weare there for each other no matter what. I have enjoyed playingwith my big sister and I will miss her after she graduates.”
She said playing for LCHS Coach Vicki Rutland is a fun andrewarding experience. “Coach Rutland is a pretty cool. She is anice person, but means serious business on the court as shemotivates us to do our best in every practice and in each game.Most of all, she has taught all of us how to be a teamplayer.”
Rutland’s girls were runners-up to New Albany in the Class 4A StateFinals, losing a close 71-61 decision to the Lady Bulldogs. Griffinstated, “There is a reason why New Albany is No. 1 in the state. Ihave respect for their team, but it hurt to lose the statechampionship.
“Our team is hungry for state gold,” continued Griffin. “We arewilling to do whatever it takes to make it back to the Coliseumnext year.”
Griffin enjoys playing basketball and has already asked the coachwhen practice begins. She loves to watch her favorite NBA team theL.A. Lakers. Her favorite player is the Lakers’ own KobeBryant.
Asked about her favorite food, Griffin said she likes cornbread.Ice cream is her favorite dessert. Her favorite movie is Love andBasketball. In school, her favorite subject is any math taught byLawrence County’s legendary coach Bobby Lee.
Mary Margaret McLaurin, a 5-9 junior forward,sparkled on the wing for the Lady Cougars as they marched to theClass 4A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.She averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Coach Rutland said, “Margie is the workhorse of the team, She doesthe dirty work that a lot of people don’t see. Margie is notflashy, but she is solid player and is very determined to get thejob done.”
Taylor Brister, a 5-1 junior guard, averaged 10points and 3 steals per game for Lady Cougars.
“Taylor is a fire-cracker on the court,” said Rutland She playswith intensity both offensively and defensively. She will sacrificeher well-being for the team without a thought about her ownsafety.”
Vintrice Briggs, a 5-9 senior forward, was a forceto be reckoned with her senior year. She led the Lady Bulldogs withan average of 14.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
“Vintrice is a tremendous worker, said Franklin County coachCharles Moore. “She is willing to do whatever it takes to help herteam win.”
Jessica Jackson, a 5-11 senior center, averaged9.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for Coach Moore’s 24-2 LadyBulldogs.
” Jessica blossomed this year as a defensive and offensive player,said Coach Moore She did a excellent job rebounding the ball forus,”
Kearia Patterson, a 5-6 senior shooting guard,averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 1.5 assists per gamefor the McComb Lady Tigers (10-20) as they advanced to the Class 5Astate tournament.
” Kearia is a very hard worker,” said McComb coach Angela JohnsonShe will give you a 110-percent in practice and in games. She wasthe engine of our team that made the other girls play hard.”
Kaylan Hughes, a 5-11 senior forward, averaged16.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.9 assists for the NorthPike Lady Jaguars (18-10). Her speed and quickness wereexceptional.
“Kaylan had a huge year for us,” said Coach Lance Golmon “Shebrings a lot of intensity to the game. She was our go to personwhen we needed a quick score in the low post.”
Kellen Choate, a 5-6 senior guard, averaged 12points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists per game for the Parklane LadyPioneers who posed a 16-11 record under coach Jeremy Ervin.
“Kellen is multifaceted,” said Ervin. “She can spot up and shoot orshe can slash inside and score. She hits the board real hard.”