GRIFFITH | Whether it was the ball-hawking defense from Samantha Adams or the precise outside shooting from Emma Blackard, it was clear Griffith came out focused on both ends of the floor.
That focus was evident in the Panthers' 47-15 win over Gavit in an opening game of Class 3A, Sectional 17 play, in which Blackard exploded for 11 first-quarter points, including three 3-pointers.
"That was huge," Griffith coach Tom Golumbeck said. "I think they were trying to take away Adams, and they did a pretty good job of that early. When she gets going, she's pretty good."
In the first game of the evening, Hammond defeated Lew Wallace 61-29.
As good as Blackard was offensively, it was the defense that was the biggest key in the night's second game. Griffith (16-6) held Gavit (9-12) to just five field goals the whole game, and held a commanding 36-9 lead at halftime. Adams had five steals in the first half and overall.
"We take a lot of pride in (our defense)," Blackard said. "We work on it a lot. Even when we're not on with our shots, the defense helps us to stay in the game."
Despite the dominant performance Tuesday, Golumbeck knows his team will have it much tougher Friday against Roosevelt and one of the best offensive players in the area, Kelly Moten.
"We told them that it's going to be a different game on Friday, and we're going to play a very talented team," Golumbeck said. "We need two good days of practice to get ready for that team. We're playing against one of the best individual offensive players in the area. She's going to be hard to stop."
Gavit's Shanika Thornton had nine points on three 3-pointers.
Hammond jumped out to an 18-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, defeating Lew Wallace 61-29 and advancing to play Clark on Friday.
Hammond (7-14) extended its lead 33-13 at halftime, effectively putting the game out of reach early for the Hornets (4-10).
Hammond's Dominique Coleman had a game-high 15 points on five 3-pointers.