Griner Sets Record
It seems there is a downside to setting a national high-school girls basketball record for most blocks in a game.
"Everybody was teasing me after the game," said Brittney Griner, the record-setter, "because I had more blocks than I had points, and more blocks than the other team had points."
The newly minted Baylor signee had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 25 blocked shots as Nimitz of Houston beat Alief Hastings 69-18 last Tuesday. The 6-foot-8 Griner's 25 snuffs eclipsed the national mark of 23 by Myeisha Jones of Oakland (Calif.) Claremont against Oakland Tech in 1997. Jones went on to play at Merritt College and UNLV.
The No. 1 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred, Griner created a stir the minute she walked into the Hastings gym, located in southwest Houston. As has been the case in most of the games she has played the past year or so, the gym was packed, more fans watched Nimitz shoot around in a secondary gym while the junior-varsity game was played, many cell phones were set to camera mode, and they oohed and aahed when Griner dunked during warmups.
"Any time she did anything," said Hastings coach Bob Wall, "it was like taking a stick and hitting a beehive."
Asked if he'd ever witnessed anything like Griner's record-setting block party, Wall said, "In a word -- no. I mean, who has? We're pretty stupid to keep going right at her. If we could do it over again, I'd have the girls take it closer to her, then dish it off inside. They were all were in awe of what was going on."
Griner, who has an 86-inch wingspan, said she is sure taking the attack right to her is not the best course for an opposing team.
"I do get surprised when they keep trying the same thing," she said. "The first time didn't work. The second time didn't work. The third time didn't work. It's not going to work. As long as they keep coming in, I'll keep blocking their shots."
Wall said his team's plan going into the game was to try outrunning Nimitz. That gameplan was sabotaged by 29 Hastings turnovers, as well as Griner's ability to run the floor with them.
Griner also had three dunks during the game -- two off her own steals and one off a teammate's; a couple of them two-handed and the other one-handed. She had another dunk during an eight-point Nimitz victory over a tougher North Shore on Friday night.
Though she has become a national sensation for her dunking ability, Griner said she prefers to block shots.
"When I was trying to dunk, I liked doing that more," she said. "Now that I've done that, I'm back to liking the block. I like the facial expressions on the players after their shot is blocked and I like the crowd reaction.
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Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the McDonald's All-American and Parade All-American Selection Committees, he formerly coached girls club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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