Parkland senior scores 1,000th point

Minnie Griffin stands with Parkland girls head coach Ken Leak after game where she scored her 1,000th point as a Mustang.

Parkland senior scores 1,000th point
February 24
14:15 2021

Parkland combo guard, Minnie Griffin, has excelled in her second stint with the Mustangs. Griffin recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in her career at Parkland by averaging 31 points per game this season.

Griffin initially came to Parkland her sophomore year from the state of Florida. Her family moved back to Florida for her junior year but made their way back to Winston-Salem for her senior campaign.

She made it to showcase not only her tremendous talent, but to also show that she has grown as a player on and off the court. Griffin has been nearly unstoppable on the court this season, only scoring under 20 points on one occasion. Hitting the 1,000-point mark was a big accomplishment for her, she said.

“I felt like I deserved it and I felt like it was Black girl magic and something that I worked hard for,” said Griffin.  

Griffin says there were many factors that went into her becoming the player she has been this season. She feels she is a different player this season, compared to her first season with the Mustangs as a sophomore.

“I have grown better by keeping my emotions in check, because it was kind of bad my sophomore year,” she said. “I have grown my leadership skills by helping my teammates grow as I have, and I have grown more physically.”

There was a lot of anticipation for this season for Griffin, because of the hard work she put in during offseason. She knew she would perform well, but did not expect to put up the lofty numbers she has all season.

“I didn’t expect to really drop as many points as I did this season,” she said. “With only playing 12 games, I really didn’t expect to score the way I did.”

According to Parkland girls’ head basketball coach, Ken Leak, adding Griffin for this season was a welcome addition after losing last season’s leading scorer, Tatiyana Cannon, to graduation.

“I was ecstatic, because we knew her very first practice her sophomore year that she was a great player,” Leak said about Griffin.  

Leak was not the only person happy about Griffin returning to Winston-Salem. Griffin said she was very happy to return to the Mustangs to have Leak and his staff coach her, along with playing against the elite competition in the Triad.

“I was very excited to come back my senior year, because when I went to Florida, I felt like Parkland was like my second family to me,” she said. “With the team from last year in Florida, I didn’t have a bond with them like I had with my teammates at Parkland. I was more dedicated to Parkland than I was to my team in Florida, even though it’s my home state.

“The competition in North Carolina is a lot harder than Florida. When I first came here, the girls were a lot stronger and competitive and that made me step my game up and try to match their level.”

Griffin saved some of her best games against the best competition. She never backed down against being guarded by the opponent’s best defender and routinely played well against players headed to college on Division I scholarships.

“Basically, what made me step up my game is that Parkland has been the bottom of the barrel for so long, it was time for me to come take over and do my thing,” she said. “I expected to play well because in the offseason I woke up at six in the morning to take my runs and on the court practicing with my coaches. I also watched film to improve my skills, so I was prepared to ball out.”

Griffin is almost a lock to make the All-Conference team and is in consideration for Player of the Year in the Piedmont Triad Conference. To be considered for player of the year is an honor, but to win it would mean the world to Griffin, she said.

“It would say a lot about the work and dedication I have put into my growth in basketball and if I receive the award, it shows I earned and deserved it,” she said about being considered for player of the year. “I have really put in the hard work and I feel like I have done my job to get it, but we will see.”

Griffin looks at Leak like a second father, she said. He stayed in contact with her during her junior year she played in Florida, helping to guide her with her progress on and off the court.

“She and I kept in contact the entire time she was in Florida,” said Leak. “She would text me about her season and what she was struggling with. I just kind of stayed as close to her as I could, and I have done that with all the girls that have played with me.

“With her being in Florida, I knew she was struggling with, one, she didn’t want to go back, and two, she wanted to stay here and play. I just kept giving her little tips from here, so we have a great relationship.”

Leak stated he could see the improvements Griffin made physically by getting stronger in the year she was in Florida, but the most important improvement she made was her emotional growth.

“She was a different kid and her whole mentality had changed,” he said.

Once the announcement was made that there was going to be a season, Leak looked at the books to see how many points Griffin needed to hit 1,000. It turns out she was only about 300 points away, meaning she would have to average around 30 points per game.

Leak says he was also surprised by how effective Griffin was on offense this year. Against Dudley and Southwest Guilford, two strong defensive teams, Griffin scored at will against them. The head coaches from both schools told Leak that Griffin was the most complete player they have competed against in the last five years.

Griffin is only the second girls’ basketball player to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier with the only other player being Cassandra Penn. Griffin says she was proud to accomplish this goal because she feels it shows the other schools in the county that they can stop looking at Parkland like they are “scrubs,” “because we are knocking on y’all door … We big ready,” she said.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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