By Mitch Stephens
1. Griner Rejects
The middle of November is reserved strictly for football, but that notion was swatted into the third row last week by Brittney Griner. The nation’s No. 1 recruit from the Class of 2009 and Nimitz (Houston, Texas) 6-foot-8 senior recorded a national-record 25 blocks in a 69-18 season-opening victory over Alief Hastings. If there’s any questions that Griner, who also had three dunks in the game to go along with 21 points and 13 rebounds, will eventually change the face of women’s basketball, this was a very emphatic answer.
2. More Hoops/Penmanship
The big news last week on early basketball signing day was that many of the high flyers, movers and shakers were taking it slow. But a number of 2009 top recruits waited until today – the final day of early signing day – to make decisions. They include shooting guard Xavier Henry (Putnam City HS, Okla., to Memphis State), shooting guard Michael Snaer (Rancho Verde, Calif., to Florida State), center Keith “Tiny” Gallon (Oak Hill Academy, Va., to Oklahoma) and shooting guard Demetrius Walker (St. Mary’s, Phoenix, Ariz., to Arizona State). That leaves the very talented quintet of 6-9 forward Derrick Favors (South Atlanta, Ga.), 6-10 center Renardo Sidney (Fairfax, Los Angeles, Calif.), 6-6 guard Lance Stephenson (Lincoln; Brooklyn N.Y.), 6-3 point guard John Wall (Word of God Christian Academy, Raleigh. N.C.) and 6-6 shooting guard Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony, N.J.) as elite players who are still weighing options.
3. Mississippi Burning
Well, at least Leland, Miss., is on fire after its football playoff win over Walnut was overturned by the Mississippi High School Activities Association. Nothing salacious here folks. The referees just gave Leland an extra play that it turned into a long game-winning touchdown. Looks like the MHSAA got it right, but it’s always a painful process – especially in an elimination game. See story also here at the Clarion Ledger and MHSAA website.
4. Scarred and Feathered
Probably last week’s most impressive individual football effort nation wide was turned in by one of California’s top juniors, Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) running back Lyndell Scarr, who rushed 32 times for 471 yards and eight touchdowns (the Sacramento Bee originally reported 26 carries for 392) in a 61-35 victory over rival Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills). Scarr became the 18th California player ever to score eight TDs in a game and his 471-yardage total is among the top 10 all-time according to the latest CalHiSports record book. See video of game here. All well and good but this: Oak Ridge (5-5 overall) advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, not Ponderosa (7-3) even though the two teams shared the same 5-1 league record. Some sort of league tiebreaker. What is it that Forrest Gump said about stupid? Don’t need to even read the fine print to surmise that doesn’t make sense. That said, great way to finish the season for Scarr and Ponderosa.
5. Smitty Rules
Here’s one of my favorite national prep sports writers Craig Smith of the Seattle Times on the un-comprehendible, many of which I’ve pondered myself.
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