St. Joe's Dempsey sets record for threes
CHARLESTON -- For Huntington St. Joe guard Griffin Dempsey it was another day at the podium after another blowout win, this one to lock up the Irish as the Class A girls basketball state champion for the fifth consecutive year.
That is, until Dempsey learned she had set a state Class A record for 3-pointers in a state tournament game with seven.
Then, her eyes lit up and she flashed a grin.
"I did?" she said. "That's pretty cool."
Dempsey was 7-for-15 from behind the 3-point arc, and was fouled on two of those misses. She went 5-for-6 at the foul line and led St. Joe with 26 points in the 73-32 win over St. Marys.
St. Joe led 13-10 with 1:27 to go in the first quarter when the Irish put on a 19-5 run to close the half and set the pace for the rest of the game.
"I think that (13-10) was the point where we realized we wanted to be the state champions and prove to everyone what this team can do," said junior guard Mychal Johnson.
Johnson was more of a distributor than a scorer in the final, and she and other teammates found Dempsey open often.
"Mychal was actually calling that," said St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis. "We had some sets for Mychal to get the shot and she was a smart enough player to realize Griffin was on; she was the one changing it up and saying put Griffin there."
Dempsey was able to spot up, and was hitting threes from deep throughout the game.
"My mindset wasn't to keep shooting or keep making threes," Dempsey said. "My team was just getting me the ball and I was getting wide open looks and kept hitting them. Our team is very good with chemistry and if one person is hitting shots, our players know to set screens and get the ball to them without even really having to say anything."
Lewis said he told his players before the game if someone was hot, keep getting them the ball. He said he could see in Dempsey's face that she was locked in and in her shooting motion that she was comfortable.
"Some of those were deep, now," Lewis said. "She wasn't just setting up right at the line."
The coach said that Dempsey's shots, especially in the first half, were momentum killers for the opposition.
"I think the threes really bury them, because it's just so deflating," he said. "Sometimes they would hit a three and she would come right back and drop another one on them. When you hit two or three of those in a row it can go from a 10-point game to a 17-, 18-point game just like that.
"We take a lot of those and it's good when we're hitting them, and Griffin is definitely our leader there."