E.A. Sports Today

Lions turn back Donoho

Inspired Griswould, veterans lift Faith to victory over area rivals on Senior Night

Donoho’s Jacob LeCroy (5) and Faith Christian’s Jordan Griswould go one-on-one. They were the top scorers for their respective teams in the game. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

As hard as Donoho tried, nothing was going to stop Jordan Griswould on this night.

Griswould, Faith Christian’s sensational senior scorer, was full of motivation Friday night. It would have been enough that he was playing an area rival on Senior Night in front of a big crowd, but there was even more to inspire him when he saw his grandmother in the gym.

Gundy Griswould, the Lions’ faithful scorekeeper throughout Jordan’s time on the team, suffered a stroke two weeks ago. But she wasn’t going to miss her grandson’s Senior Night for anything.

As late as Friday morning it still wasn’t certain whether she would make the game, but the school prayed for her during the day and the medical staff overseeing her care gave her the OK to attend.

She was there the whole game, from walking alongside Jordan during pregame Senior Night ceremonies to the post-game victory celebration with well-wishers on the floor. In between, her grandson played one of his better games, leading the Lions to a 66-57 victory.

Griswould scored 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and was a leader on both ends of the floor.

“With this being Senior Night and being the last time in the gym I just wanted to perform the best I could, especially with this big crowd,” Griswould said.

The Lions led from the early going, but every time they seemed to have the game in hand, Donoho would come charging back.

The first time, Faith opened a 22-6 lead, but the Falcons rallied to draw within 25-20 with 2:05 left in the first half. That’s when Griswould kicked it up a notch, scoring six points in a span of 44 seconds to lift the Lions to a 33-20 halftime lead.

“That’s Jordan, I don’t know how else to describe it other than that’s just him,” Faith coach Brad Yarbrough said.

The Lions extended the lead to 35-25, then Donoho cut it back to 35-30. They went back up 43-30, but the Falcons cut it back to 43-40. It was 49-46 with 5:15 to play when the Lions went on the final run that Donoho couldn’t challenge.

Jacob LeCroy had a big hand in trying to bring the Falcons back. He scored 24 points in the game, 19 in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter. Will Nelson had 12 points, including eight in a row for his team during its second-quarter comeback.

Even Donoho coach Alex Mastin had to concede it was just too much Griswould.

“It’s the third time we’ve played those guys and Jordan Griswould has dominated us those times,” Mastin said. “We said we were going to do our best to hold him in check to see if we could stop everybody else. I don’t know how many points he had, but we obviously didn’t do that.

“The whole thing was we had to come meet Jordan up higher, because if we let him get closer to the goal, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to give him an and-one. We were trying to get our bigs to meet him higher, sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t, but when you play a player like that, the times you don’t it’s three points, an and-one.”

Griswould have three three-point play opportunities in the game and converted two of them.

But it wasn’t just Griswould who did damage. Yarbrough said this night was about the seniors and all five of them made big plays at various points in the game, from Griswould throughout the game to Jameson Adams’ blocked shot late in the fourth quarter to Julien Key’s game-sealing steal in the closing seconds. Jack Sills had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Michael Kulick provided them big minutes.

“They all started and they all finished it,” Yarbrough said. “I’m glad we got to send them out in their last home game with a win.”

The win solidified Faith’s No. 3 seed in Class 1A Area 10, where they will play Spring Garden in the semifinals of the area tournament. Donoho finishes in a tie for fourth with JCA and they’ll meet in the play-in game to decide who draws top-seed and top-ranked Sacred Heart.

Donoho’s Jacob LeCroy drives hard to the basket against Faith Christian. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Faith Christian 66, Donoho 57
Saad Ibrahim 0 0-0 0, Jason Howard 0 0-0 0, Jack Svensen 2 0-0 5, Garrett Steed 3 1-4 9, John Hutto 0 0-0 0, Jacob LeCroy 8 4-5 24, Mateen Ibrahim 0 0-0 0, Harrison Hughston 0 0-0 0, Ross Hagan 0 0-0 0, Wilson Russell 0 0-0 0, Will Nelson 6 0-2 12, Tej Patel 0 0-0 0, Joseph O’Neill 2 2-4 7, Seth Ford 0 0-2 0. Totals 21 7-17 57.

FAITH CHRISTIAN – Michael McGraw 0 4-6 4, Riley Camp 2 0-0 6, Jordan Griswould 10 7-10 27, Jameson Adams 2 0-0 4, Seth Cravens 1 1-2 4, Jack Sills 6 7-10 19, Michael Kulick 1 0-0 2, Julien Key 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 19-28 66.

Donoho 6 14 18 19 — 57
Faith Christian 20 13 10 23 — 66

3-point goals: Donoho 8 (Svensen, Steed 2, LeCroy 4, O’Neill); Faith 3 (Camp 2, Cravens). Technical fouls: Camp. Fouled out: Nelson, O’Neill, Ford. Total fouls: Donoho 27, Faith 15. Officials: Chambers, Tidwell, Kelley.

Jordan Griswould and his family are recognized during Faith Christian’s Senior Night ceremonies. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see a gallery of B.J. Franklin’s photos from the Faith-Donoho games, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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