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MAHONE: No introduction needed for Clayton State basketball

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

Morrow — Just before he began his postgame press conference inside the media room at the Clayton State’s Athletics and Fitness Center, the school’s sports publicist asked Lakers coach Dennis Cox to introduce the two players beside him.

“They really don’t need an introduction,” Cox joked with the media members gathered in the makeshift press room and those watching on the webcast.

By now, everyone that is familar with Div. II women’s basketball should know about Drameka Griggs and Kayla Mobley.

If not, here is a brief introduction — simply put, they may be the two best basketball players on the second-highest level of basketball in the NCAA.

Griggs has become one of the most decorated players in Div. II this season. In addition to winning the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament MVP honors, she was recently named the Southeast Region Player of the Year.

Mobley, an all-conference performer, has been a steady inside presence for the nation’s top ranked team.

On Friday, Mount Olive was introduced to the standouts, and it was a warm welcome.

With Mobley controlling the paint, and Griggs driving, shooting and pressuring the Trojans backcourt, Clayton State cruised to a 91-58 victory over Mount Olive in the quarterfinals of the Southeast Regional.

Mobley had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five steals while Griggs had 22 points, four assists and two steals.

“They were just being themselves,” Cox said.

And he wasn’t bragging on one of the best 1-2 punches in college basketball. The Lakers are 29-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country with the help of these two talented seniors.

They were just doing what they are accustomed to doing — powering the Lakers to another win.

For the first 12 minutes of Friday’s game, it appeared Mount Olive was poised to pull the upset. Or then again, it wouldn’t have surprised many who have followed the Mount Olive program.

In 2008, its last appearance in the NCAA Div. II tournament, the Falcons did just that as they defeated top-seed Indiana (Pa.) on its homecourt.

Mount Olive flirted with that possibility, but then Griggs came off the bench with some renewned energy for the Lakers as the teams traded blows. The Falcons led by as many as four with a lot of confidence.

Last week, Mount Olive shocked the Conference Carolinas by winning its tournament to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA field.

To add to the motivation, earlier in the day conference foes Limestone and Pfeiffer won. Pfieffer upset South Atlanta Conference champion Anderson, the region’s No. 3 seed.

But Clayton State wouldn’t be a part of Mount Olive’s magic late season runs.

The Falcons put up a good fight, but in the end Griggs, Mobley and company were the superior team.

“I don’t think they really need an introduction,” Cox said about Mobley and Griggs to start his press conference.

By now, Clayton State has been fully introduced to the basketball world.

“Obviously getting Clayton State is a tough draw,” Mount Olive coach Wendy Lee said.

And Griggs and Mobley makes them even tougher.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com.