Dempsey eclipses 1,000-point mark
HUNTINGTON -- For the second time this season, a member of the Huntington St. Joe girls' basketball team passed 1,000 career points.
And for the second time, it was a junior.
Griffin Dempsey needed just 9 points Wednesday in a Class A, Region IV Section 2 semifinal matchup with Wahama, an easy 86-31 romp for the Irish, to obtain 1,000 career points.
She didn't mess around with it, scoring 13 points in the first quarter to get the mark out of the way.
"It's a big accomplishment, but just like anything else it's out of the way and we don't worry about it," Dempsey said. "I figured it was going to happen sooner or later, so coming out and getting it that fast in the game was really cool for me. I don't have to worry the rest of the season about getting 9 points."
The other player to pass 1,000 career points was Mychal Johnson, who accomplished the feat Jan. 8 at Parkersburg Catholic.
"It was a huge deal how early Mychal got it," Dempsey said. "It was really awesome."
Head coach Shannon Lewis acknowledged the uniqueness of having two players surpass 1,000 points for their career in their junior seasons, something that even for the most prolific of scorers usually doesn't happen until the senior year.
"They compliment each other very well," Lewis said. "It seems like if one is having an off night, the other picks it up. We can put points up in a hurry and I would say that is why they both made it in their junior year."
Dempsey might have reached the 1,000 point mark sooner, but had to sit out four games with a shoulder injury this season.
"She can handle it, she can shoot it ... the college coaches just love her game and how tough she is," Lewis said. "Offensively, she is just so skilled."
Dempsey and Johnson sat all of the second quarter, after the Irish jumped out to a 38-6 lead on the White Falcons. Lewis returned to his starters for some of the third quarter, but St. Joe's backups played most of the second half, with starters Asia Petitte, Rachel Lee or Mychelle Johnson occasionally rotating in.
Dempsey said it's fun for the starters to get to watch the bench players get some minutes.
"No one wants to come out of the game at all, but to watch them play and have fun and get to do their thing is awesome," Dempsey said. "When we have JV games they're not always at home, and they don't always get in in close games, so when they get to come in and get some varsity minutes and get their name in the paper it's really cool to see."
Only three players on St. Joe's roster did not score, though they all got to play.
Lewis said he doesn't necessarily expect that to continue as the tournament goes on, even if No. 1-ranked St. Joe is the four-time defending Class A state champion.
"We got off to a good start tonight and it allowed everybody to get some minutes.It's early in the tournament, and it's only one game," he said. "We just have to work on getting better each game as I'm sure it will get tougher each round."
Charleston Catholic beat Buffalo, 57-48, and plays St. Joe for the section title in a 7:30 p.m., Friday, game at Buffalo.
WAHAMA 6 11 4 10 -- 31: Zuspan 8, Roque 4, Gardner 5, Gabritsch 8, Peters 2, Carmichael 4.
ST. JOE 38 11 28 9 -- 86: Dempsey 20, Mychal Johnson 11, Petitte 18, Lee 14, Mychelle Johnson 7, Jenkins 2, Gale 3, Re. Lee 3, Di. Disu 4, De. Disu 2, Parker 2.