WEST FRANKFORT — They needed three basketballs to get through the game at Max Morris Gym Tuesday night.
That’s because the first two wound up in Morgan Griffith’s expanding trophy case.
The West Frankfort star tied her career high with 45 points and broke the school’s career scoring record as the Redbirds dumped previously unbeaten Harrisburg 81-68 in each team’s SIRR Ohio opener.
Griffith entered the night with 1,990 points, 35 shy of her cousin, Missy Broy, who set the mark 20 years ago. With Broy watching, the 5-foot-10 Griffith got to 2,000 with two free throws at the 1:04 mark of the first quarter, then claimed the career mark by canning two more foul shots with 4:36 left in the game.
After both milestones, play was stopped and Griffith did the obligatory grip-and-grin pictures with coach Matt Hampleman while the public address announcer recognized her feats.
“I was kind of afraid that we were going to lose our momentum a little bit,” Griffith said. “That made me a little nervous, but we got it done.”
Griffith – who signed earlier this month with NCAA Division II school Missouri S&T – did much of her damage at the foul line, converting 25 of 27, including 15 straight before her first miss. She displayed a good all-around game, finishing with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
That her milestones came as part of a win made it even better for Griffith.
“I’m excited that we got it at home, but that we beat Harrisburg made it even more exciting,” she said. “I really didn’t think that I’d get the record tonight because I usually don’t score that much against Harrisburg. I thought I’d get to 2,000.”
Cali Wright chipped in 12 points for West Frankfort (3-2, 1-0), while Madison Freeman hauled in 15 rebounds. The Redbirds took control with a 13-2 run after the Bulldogs (5-1, 0-1) grabbed a 50-49 lead late in the third quarter.
Lotte Miller scored 23 points to pace Harrisburg before fouling out. She wasn’t unique in that club, as three other starters were also disqualified with five fouls by night’s end. Jessica Hopson added 17 and 6-2 center Matty Hawkins finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Prior to tipoff, Hampleman took Griffith aside for some advice.
“I said take a deep breath,” Hampleman said. “She took a deep breath. I said, ‘Now let’s go play ball.’”
Not only did Griffith play ball, she took two of them back home.