Griffith sets school three mark

COLUMBIANA – Southern’s Luke Griffith shot himself into the record books on Friday night by connecting on nine three-pointers – eclipsing the old school record of eight – in a 64-42 win over Columbiana.

“They came out in that zone and we just started working the ball and got the zone moving a little bit,” Griffith said. “The guys got me the ball and I was able to hit shots.”

Griffith edged Ethan Blatch, an assistant coach, by one triple for the new record, which was set during Blatch’s senior season in 2008.

Blatch gave Griffith a congratulatory hug after the game.

“Luke’s a kid who I have helped coach since he was in fifth grade and I played with his brother,” Blatch said. “It’s cool to see you a kid grow from that little to where he is now. I wouldn’t have wanted anybody else to get it. That was very special for me to see a player who you have put a lot of work into succeed like that on a high-level.”

As a kid, Griffith watched Blatch knock down many three-pointers during his career as an Indian.

“It was nice because he came over after the game and gave me a hug and everything,” Griffith said. “It was cool to watch him shoot the ball when I was little.”

The Clippers (3-13, 3-8 in the Inter-Tri County League lower tier) hung with the Indians (13-5, 8-4) early on, using solid outside shooting, particularly from Austin Minor and Bryce Franken, who each knocked down a pair of threes.

“We have gotten a lot better the kids work hard and they put in the effort in the summer,” Columbiana head coach Jake Baker said. “Record wise, we’ve already won more games then we won last year and we are a much better team than we were last year. We just have to be mentally tough and guard people each night.”

Franken and Minor each finished with nine points.

As the Clippers’ shooting began to cool off, Griffith’s shots began to fall at an increasing rate.

Griffith converted on a rare four-point play midway through the first quarter after being fouled while connecting on a three-pointer from the wing. He sunk the extra shot.

“That’s tough, but it’s nice whenever you get your release off and your follow-through and then they bump you,” Griffith said. “Getting fouled and putting the shot up at the same time is a lot tougher.”

He finished with a season-high 33 points on the night, including four consecutive threes in the second quarter that accounted for 12 of his team’s 14 points in the frame.

“It gives you confidence, knowing what they’re doing and you know you can swing the ball around and get open shots,” Griffith said. That’s how you have to play it, down at home when they came out in the zone we didn’t do that and it was a lot closer game.”

At the half, Southern held a double digit lead at 29-18.

“Whenever you play against a zone you have to knock down outside shots,” Southern head coach George Whittaker said. “We got the ball inside a little bit and Kyler (Woodward) scored a little bit but it wasn’t really his game because they were trapping him inside.”

Woodward finished with eight points on the night.

Having knocked down six threes in the first half, Griffith came out and knew how close he was in the second to eclipsing the record. He reached it at the 2:23 mark of the fourth quarter.

“I knew where I was because I had come close before,” Griffith said. “In our first game against Lisbon, I made seven. So I knew how far away I was.”

“I was glad I was here for it he had a chance earlier this year and Coach Whittaker took him out,” Blatch said. “The guys joked with me saying I told coach to take Luke out against Lisbon, I’m glad he got it tonight.”

Southern local won the jayvee game 58-36.

Notes: The Clippers were celebrating homecoming night and introduced members of the court prior to the start of the varsity game. Members included queen Lindsey Roncone, Kristi Mellott, Colette Steiginga, Jake Dejong, king Britton Steiginga and Jared Hill.

SOUTHERN: 15-14-20-15: 64

COLUMBIANA: 13-5-14-10: 42

S. LOCAL SCORING: JJ Napierkowski 4-0-9, Dylan Ketchum 3-0-8, Jared Shilot 2-2-6, Luke Griffith 11-2-33, Kyler Woodward 4-0-8. TOTALS: 24, 4-7: 64.

COLUMBIANA SCORING: Bryce Franken 3-0-9, Kyle Bryan 2-0-4, Nathan Garofalo 2-0-5, Devin Rice 2-0-5, Jake DeJong 4-2-10, Austin Minor 3-0-9. TOTALS: 16, 2-7: 42

Three-pointers: Southern Local 12 (Griffith 9, Ketchum 2, Napierkowski), Columbiana 8 (Minor 3, Franken 3, Rice, Garofalo).