Griner dunks as Nimitz beats Pflugerville, 74-47

Griner dunks as Nimitz beats Pflugerville, 74-47

Nimitz overpowers Pflugerville 74-47.

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by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on March 7, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 26 at 5:16 PM

AUSTIN-- The dunk is in the record books. Now comes the chance to play for a state title.

Brittney Griner scored 44 points -- including the first dunk in a Texas girls state tournament -- leading Aldine Nimitz to a 74-47 win over Pflugerville on Friday night in the Class 5A semifinals.

The 6-foot-8 Griner, whose dunking exploits have made her a YouTube sensation, passed up several chances to dunk until throwing down a two-handed jam late in the third quarter as Nimitz started to pull away. A fist pump and a yell punctuated the moment.

"I was trying to get at least one," Griner said, suggesting there will be plenty more to come. "That was good to get one."

Although a couple of girls have come close to dunking in recent years, University Interscholastic League Chief of Staff Kim Rogers said Griner was the first.

And she had plenty more to her game than that. Griner's 44 points and 19 field goals also set Class 5A tournament records. A senior who has signed with Baylor, Griner also grabbed 18 rebounds and had eight blocks for Nimitz (37-1), which advances to Saturday night's title game against Mansfield Summit (33-4).

Kaylan Martin scored 10 points for Pflugerville (32-6).

Griner put on a dunk show during warmups with two-handed and alley-oop jams that seemed designed not just for showtime, but to intimidate opponents.

The Frank Erwin Center crowd of 8,777 loved it and even Pflugerville fans were on their feet. Game officials drew a chorus of boos from the crowd and a big smile from Griner when they came to the floor, meaning it was time for the dunks to stop.

With Griner's national appeal and a local opponent to draw even more fans, UIL officials delayed the start of the game by a half hour because of the long line of people waiting outside to buy tickets. The last time the UIL opened the mezzanine at the Erwin Center for the girls' tournament was in 1996.

Once play started, Griner scored 10 points in the first quarter, showing off a smooth 10-foot jumper and a nifty one-handed bank reverse layup with a step behind the backboard.

But Griner's teammate's kept throwing in passes that were chin high, low enough to be poked away by defenders. Nimitz had seven turnovers in the first quarter that Pflugerville turned into 9 points and Nimitz led 17-14 after one.

With Baylor coach Kim Mulkey looking on from the crowd, Griner almost seemed to be trying not to dunk, taking a couple of close shots in for soft layups instead of displaying her rare talent.

Griner finally missed her first shot of the third quarter, then followed it with another easy layup, again giving up the chance to dunk.

Then it happened.

With 3:13 left in the third, Griner took a pass in the low post from Alicia Seay, spun around a defender and went up for a two-handed jam and a 46-34 Nimitz lead.

"The game is awesome playing with her," Seay said. "We knew we had to play hard."

Griner followed it with a nifty assist, an easy layup, then her seventh block on the other end as Nimitz took a 54-38 lead into the fourth.

Any chance Pflugerville had of keeping it close ended a few minutes into the third quarter when 6-foot-1 center Nneka Enemkpali crumbled to the floor clutching her knee. She was carried off the court and returned to the bench later using crutches.

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