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Hustle … hustle … hustle … GRIZZ!

Grizz-1-600Grit ... grind ... thou name is the Memphis Grizzlies!

After a heart-breaking loss in Game 1 that easily could (and probably should) have the Thunder down 2-0, the Grizzlies responded with an impressive 99-93 victory to even the best of seven series at 1-1.

Led by the steady hand of Mike Conley, who was one assist away from a triple-double with an impressive stat line of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, the Grizz were determined not to let another late lead disappear. Marc Gasol added 24 points and provided a major presence in the paint that Oklahoma City just could not match.

Coach Jerry M. Johnson takes well-earned retirement bow

Johnson-retirement-600The pool of retired and revered coaches recently made room for one more – Coach Jerry M. Johnson Sr.

Former students, players, family and friends gathered at the Marriott East Hotel on April 27 for a retirement dinner and gala in Coach Johnson's honor. The celebration noted his 42 years of service in education and coaching in Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.

Coach Johnson started his coaching career at Wooddale Junior High, coaching football and track. His teams won championships in both sports.

Close … but no free throws

Griz-600Grizz Nation was in full effect Sunday evening in Oklahoma City and although an unlikely victory in the home of last year's Western Conference champs was well within reach, a few critical errors and some home court luck, gave the Thunder the win. Kevin Durant made a critical jumper with 11.1 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter Sunday to give the Thunder the lead, which unfortunately for Grizz Nation, they never relinquished. It was Durant's 4th game-tying or go-ahead shot in the final 24 seconds of a playoff game in the last five postseasons, tied for the most in the league.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

For the Grizz, grind goes on

Griz-Fans-600Game 6 of the Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Clippers NBA Playoffs first round series is a sellout.

The FedExForum will be raucous place as the Grizz go for the knockout up three games to two against the Clippers. It's not an absolute must-win game, with the series shifting back to L.A. should Memphis coming up short in its bid to snare its second playoff series win in franchise history.

Melrose volleyball star hitting on all cylinders

Volleyball-600Ashundria McNeal, a senior volleyball player at Melrose High School, was a Best of the Preps selection this year. On Wednesday, she signed with Alabama A & M University.

McNeal is the first volleyball player from Melrose to receive a full volleyball scholarship to a Division 1 school.

Nominated to the district all-star team for the past three seasons, McNeal was ranked in the top 20 in the state in hitting percentage during the regular season.

Grizz poised for Game 5 after acing Clippers

Mike-Conley-9859-600The Grizzlies – having held serve at the FedExForum – will square off against the Clippers in Los Angeles on Tuesday before returning to Memphis for a critical Game 6.

The Memphis-LA duel in the NBA Playoffs first-round is even at two apiece after the Grizzlies aced the Clippers in games last Thursday and Saturday in Memphis' "Grind House." The Clippers took the first two games in Los Angeles, including a buzzer-beater in the second game.

The kind of defense that Memphis was known for in the regular season was on display in both games in Memphis. On Saturday, Los Angeles was held to 83 points in a 104-83 smackdown and averaged 82.5 points in the two games in Memphis. At the Staples Center in L.A., the Clippers averaged 102.5 points in the two games.

‘The murder, the ghost and the scholarship’

ridgewayguy-600Johnathan Burroughs-Cook – a standout basketball player for Ridgeway High School – speaks about the murder of his assistant basketball coach (Jimmy McClain), the disappearance of his teammate (McKenzie Sewell), the married adult who posed as a teenager and enrolled to play on the team, and an end-of-season "blessing."

This is for real life and not something birthed from the mind of a Hollywood screenwriter, so hold on. We have to begin this somewhere, so let's start with the murder.

"Our coach, Wes Henning, came into the locker room and broke the news to the entire team about coach (Jimmy McClain), that he had been murdered at his home (February 22). We knew something was up because coach McClain hadn't been to school in a few days," said Johnathan Burroughs-Cook, Ridgeway High School's star point guard.

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans
  • Category: Original

Marc Gasol’s ‘D’ secures Defensive Player of the Year

Marc-Gasol-600In the NBA, good defense is team defense, with each individual committed to doing his part. Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol knows that and he demonstrated it consistently throughout the 2012-13 season.

On Wednesday, Gasol was rewarded for doing his part, snaring the 2012-13 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In the history of the Grizzlies' franchise, he is the first to be so honored.

Proof that Gasol "gets it" about good defense came as he accepted the award.
"On behalf of my teammates and our coaching staff, I am grateful to be named the Defensive Player of the Year," Gasol said. "We had a great season, especially on the defensive end, and that is due to the hard work of everyone involved."