Message from Coach MAC – Senior Spotlight
I am typing this from my couch – the same place, like many of you, that I spent many “work” days last year during the Shelter in Place Order. I would spend time on national calls with other Athletic Directors trying to decide how best to continue or return to play. I would read the sad stories of Senior athletes whose seasons were lost or abruptly ended. And now I am here on my couch reflecting on the last two years with my three senior boys’ basketball players, thankful that we were able to have two seasons together. I think about AJ Jackson – our leader, and the many tough conversations we have had about life, struggles, the present, and the future. He challenges me (and many other staff!) with his wit, rhetoric, and general strong spirit. Do not be surprised if one day he runs for the Supreme Court or President! AJ scored his career high of 18 vs Trinity and holds the season record for free throw percentage shooting 80% from the line last year.
Tuesday I had a 10-minute conversation with Cameron Bryan about how far he, and our team, have come in just 2 years. His face lit up as he talked about his young teammates and how his individual goals have changed from wanting to score to just helping the team win. He loves seeing the success of his teammates. “Playoff Cameron,” as he was affectionately dubbed late last year, scored 19 against #1 seed, and eventual state champion, Lakewood in the Regional Championship game last season.
And I think about the maturity of Jackson Holdsworth. He joined the team 3 years ago with Coach Rhea as the homeschool friend of an ACADEMY student and stayed on the team even after his friend left. He is already engaged to his high school sweetheart, former Griffin 2020 graduate Sierrah McDonald, and plans to marry this summer. Jackson has played all five positions during the past two years but eventually settled into the role as starting point guard with his steadiness. His daily investment in younger teammates has set a tone for the future. Jackson scored a career-high 15 points against OCA JV on Saturday. He tops the leaderboard in many categories for single game stats and season stats. He also recorded the only triple-double in school history last year vs. Cristo Rey.
Read more about from senior AJ Jackson in this week’s Nuntius feature article, Letter from a Griffin Athlete.
My prayer is that we get a break in this weather and that these three outstanding young men get their Senior night. But if not, I know that they will continue to roll with whatever happens because of the commitment and pioneer spirit they have shown during their short careers! Go Griffins Go!
Weekly Sports Recap
Saturday the HS boys played a single with OCA JV and followed a familiar script – tied at the half, dominate the 2nd half – in route to a 57-37 victory. Senior Jackson Holdsworth led the team with 15 points followed by 11 from AJ Jackson.
Tuesday night the Griffins hosted the HFC Warriors in a wild night. Both boys games had crazy finishes as the teams relinquished sizeable 4th quarter leads and regulation came down to free throws. In the MS game the boys distanced themselves from the Warriors, but late turnovers let the opposing team back in it. Austin Irons was fouled late and went to the line and made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Griffins the 1-point win.
The HS boys again played as they have been – close at half and then pull away in the 2nd. The Boys started the 4th quarter with a 3 from Ed Thomas to go up by 18. But the Warriors would not go away continuing to chip away. The Warriors forced a wild finish as they hit 2 threes and had 3 steal layups in the last minute to tie the game. Sophomore Camden Jackson drove the length of the court and drew a foul and free throws with 2 seconds left to give the Griffins the opportunity to
win in regulation, but was unable to connect. Unfortunately, the wild night just got started. Sophomore Paxton Ford made an unbelievable effort to secure the offensive rebound of the 2nd free throw, turned to shoot a short bank shot when the baseline official blew his whistle ending the game before the final buzzer sounded! Pandemonium ensued as the Griffins bench erupted arguing the erroneous whistle and the missed opportunity. The Griffins struggled to regain their momentum in overtime and missed a game-tying three pointer at the buzzer, losing only their third game of the year to bring their record to 17-3 on the season.
In between these crazy games the JV Girls lost a tough game against the HFC 14U Girls. But the girls had several great plays that showed the vast improvement during the season, highlighted by a Blevin Garriott baseline drive and dish to Avery Metcalf for a layup.
The three teams return to action Friday night at Midtown for Senior Night.
YouTube Livestream Link Available for Home Games and Limited Road Games
Home Games are livestreamed on the Athletic Youtube channel: The ACADEMY Griffins Athletics, so fans won’t miss the action. Click here to access Livestreams and various Athletic content: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8874oYIwsBG077e6PJioSA
3X3 Return to Play
3X3 Basketball is Back! The next full slate of games is tomorrow, Saturday, February 13th. The remaining game schedule has been sent to coaches for review to make sure there are not any last-minute adjustments that need to be made. Check with you coaches for game schedules and possible Flex make up dates.
Don’t forget that you will need the athletic door code for Midtown when you come to play your games!
Reminder that MASKS ARE REQUIRED when you visit our campuses. Please remind your students to wear their masks as they arrive and leave practice. Parents must also wear masks, especially if they remain in the practice location.
Upcoming Athletic Events