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While there were many components to the best of the season in Hunt High varsity girls basketball history, Bria Griffith proved to be the most consistent, most versatile and most valuable.
The 5-foot-10 junior led Hunt in scoring (15.8 points per game), rebounding (6.3), assists (3.7) and steals (2.2) as the Lady Warriors won their second straight 3-A Big East Conference regular-season title, added the Big East tournament title, made it to the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs for just the second time and won a school-record 22 games.
Griffith, who was named the Big East Player of the Year and landed on the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-District 3 Second Team, can add The Wilson Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year to her accolades for 2018-19.
“I’m very honored to win this award because you have plenty of other athletes who were capable of winning these awards,” she said. “At the beginning of the season, I knew that I had grown into a better player, but to just be blessed enough to get these awards, I never would have thought that I would get all of them.”
Griffith, who repeated as a Times All-Area selection, proved to be the main weapon in the Lady Warriors’ “Big Three,” along with teammates Imani Sutton and Tatiana Smith, both of whom are All-Area selections. But Griffith, who was running the point as often as she was posting up in the paint, proved to be the type of player that defies categorization.
“She has great anticipation and can get the steal but, at the same time, can get down the court,” Hunt head coach Tiffany Parks said. “She’s one of our fastest players.”
Griffith doesn’t worry about what position she has to play, it’s just being able to make a difference on the court that drives her.
“I can pretty much play any position,” she said. “Just having that mindset that nothing can stop you or hold you back is what’s really important. Just feeling confident about yourself is what really keeps me going.
“You don’t have to score to impact the game. I could do it with defense. I could do it by just keeping the energy up on the floor because, at a very early time in the season, I realized that I had to be a big part of the team for the team to be successful, just knowing that I could impact the game in more ways than one was important.”
That outlook has come with maturity, Parks said.
“We were really proud of her growth from last year to this year,” the Hunt coach said. “We had moved her to the post a little bit, so I think that helped her overall game develop a little more inside.”
A big reason for Griffith’s development has come from the support Griffith gets from her family.
“I think that really has made a difference as she grew this year, too,” Parks said. “Having those conversations with them and they’re always checking on her at practice and I think that kind of helps with young ladies when they’re at that point, junior year.”
Griffith said that her mother, Barbara Griffith, and grandmother, Barbara Barfield, along with little sister, Abbygale, “never missed a game.” Equally important were her father, Danny Griffith; older sister, Brandi Griffith, and older brother, Brandon Barfield.
“I feel like there were so many people who supported me and told me about the potential that I had, so I used the support that I had to fuel my grind,” Griffith said. “Everybody told me that I could be this or I could be that, so I worked to prove to them that I could really be as good as they were telling me.”
That was true off the court as well.
“She’s also an A student,” Parks said. “She’s a good kid to have.”
And Griffith isn’t done. She’ll be back for another year, along with Sutton and a solid returning cast, and hopes to help Hunt girls basketball reach higher goals even after a record-setting year that ended earlier than hoped.
“Our team as a whole, we were so dedicated and so motivated,” she said. “We would win the Christmas tournament and conference championship, but we were never satisfied.”