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|Griggs still in record books|
Ferriday native Shawn Griggs can be found in the Southeastern Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU basketball record books for his ability to steal the basketball back in the early 1990s.
But the 6-foot-5 Griggs does not credit his long arm span or quickness with that ability.
"The only way I could get a dunk was to get a steal," Griggs said. "I liked playing to the crowd and they loved the dunks."
Griggs had a Sun Belt record 120 steals while playing for Louisiana-Lafayette in 1993-94 over 30 games, averaging 4.0 steals a game.
Griggs is tied with Alabama's Anthony Murray for most steals in a game by an SEC player with 10. Griggs stole the ball 10 times against Tennessee on February 23, 1991, which is still tops for an LSU player. He averaged 2.8 steals a game that season, fourth-best in the SEC. His 81 steals that season ranked fifth in the conference.
"Coach (Robert) Cade always taught defense," Griggs said of the former Ferriday High coach. "And I took a lot of pride in it. I guess my quickness and anticipation was a big asset."
Vidalia High principal Rick Brown was an assistant coach on the Ferriday state championship teams of 1987-88 and 1988-89.
"Shawn is one of the top two ballplayers I ever coached in high school," Brown said. "He was a natural. He was very agile and athletic and knew the game of basketball."
Ferriday High only scored six points in the final quarter of its Class 3A state championship game against Cecilia on March 19, 1988.
But two of those points were the difference in the ballgame, as a tip-in by Griggs gave the Trojans a 63-61 win over the Bulldogs and Ferriday's first boys basketball championship.
"The year before we went to the playoffs and ended up 25-5," said former Ferriday boys coach Robert Cade. "We had everybody coming back. But we did not set a goal to win a state champions. We just wanted to win as many games as we could. Now the next year we set a goal of winning State."
After Carroll Boudreaux missed the front end of a one-and-one with 23 seconds remaining and the game tied at 61-61, Trojan coach Robert Cade called a time out.
"We set it up for one shot," Cade said. "We wanted to get the ball to Shawn Davis with the option of him taking it to the goal or taking a shot. He started driving to the basket and got doubled up, so he kicked the ball back out to Anthony Brown and the other guys crashed the board."
Brown took the shot with 10 seconds remaining. The ball bounced off the front rim and Victor Henderson tipped it to Griggs, who laid it in with one second remaining to give Ferriday the win.
"I tipped it in and then heard the buzzer," Griggs said. "And then time just kind of stood still. I didn't know what to think for a while."
Griggs also credited the play of his teammates, including Darian Promise, William White and James Davis.
"It was great at the time," Griggs said. "We had not had much success at Ferriday. My sophomore year we didn't go far, but had a good record. We had everybody coming back so we had an idea we could be good. Getting Shawn Davis (transfer from North Natchez) was a big boost. He had a lot of athletic ability and shot the ball really well. He helped up all step up our games. It was a real good feeling going all the way."
The 6-foot-8 Harold Boudreaux led Cecilia with 27 points, while his brother Carroll added 20.
"They were the dream team," Cade said. "But we were in a district with Wossman, Winnsboro and Carroll and we were used to playing big games in front of big crowds. We got up by six early, but later we got in foul trouble and had to slow the ball down, which hurt us."
While playing before big crowds was nothing new, playing in a big arena was for the Ferriday team.
"I don't think there is anything that can prepare you for playing in a place like LSU with the openness," Cade said. "There was no backdrop or wall. It's a different depth perception."
Ferriday finished 30-3. The Trojans were actually ranked No. 3 in the Monroe News-Star World poll among all northeast Louisiana teams behind Ogden and Ruston.
Ferriday defeated St. Martinville to reach the championship game.
"The semi final game against St. Martinville was a classic in its own right," Davis said. "The game was back and forth the whole way. I remember Shawn Griggs taking his game to an entirely different level that game. He had about 10 blocks that game. This was an entire team effort, but he carried a very big load for us that game. I was thinking, 'we have come this far, its too late to let it all slip away.' We just kept feeding Griggs the ball every possession."
Despite losing Davis, who signed with Oklahoma State, the Trojans repeated as Class 3A champions in 1989, defeating Carroll.
Ferriday finished second to Carroll, losing 62-60 in Winnsboro in a tiebreaker game to decide the district title.
Ferriday defeated St. Thomas More 56-52 in semifinals.
Ferriday met Carroll for the state championship, and Griggs scored 30 points in a 64-55 win over the Bulldogs.
Griggs 35 points 11 rewobunds MVP
They had good size and everybody was talking about them. It was a real challenge, especially that time of the year
"It was actually pretty tough," Griggs said. "We went from being the hunter to being hunted. Everybody wanted to beat us. We didn't have Shawn, but some younger guys really stepped up like Stephon Mason and James Leonard.
Griggs signed with LSU, but after the 19990-91 season in which he as named to the first-team All-SEC Defensive team, he transferred to Pratt Community College in Kansas for academic reasons.
"I think it helped me because I was able to work a lot more on my game," Griggs said.
Grigg signed with Louisiana-Lafayette, averaging 4.9 points and 2.9 rebounds, while leading the team with 59 steals as a junior. He also led the team with 24 blocked shots with 24.
Griggs signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, but ended up playing in New Zealand for two years.
"It didn't pan out with the 76ers," he said. "But I enjoyed playing in New Zealand. It is a beautiful country with good people. I wasn't getting paid like NBA players, but it was still great."
Grigss currently live in Sacremento, Calif. He is recovering from back surgery.
"Those were great memories at Ferriday," he said. "And I loved playing in the old gym on Florida Street. Coach Cade would turn on the heat and we would press the whole game to wear people down."
Griggs' cousin, Jada Griggs, is a freshman on the Ferriday varsity girls team and leads the Lady Trojans in scoring.
"I played basketball with her when she was little," Griggs said. "She loved it back then. I'm not surprised to see her doing well."
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