Griffith leading Lake hoops back to respectability

FELTON — It probably would’ve been easier to just lookout for himself.

But that’s not Dominique Griffith’s style.

Instead, the Lake Forest senior continued to work hard at improving not only his game but the play of his teammates as well. Even during his first two varsity seasons with Spartans teams that combined to go 10-30.

That work is finally starting to show, as Griffith has helped lead this year’s team to a 10-9 record entering its regular season finale Wednesday at Laurel.

Senior Dom Griffith has helped put Lake in position to finish with a winning record for the first time in several years. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Senior Dom Griffith has helped put Lake in position to finish with a winning record for the first time in several years. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

“It’s been good, the team, everybody’s clicking,” Griffith said of finally playing for a winning squad that still has a chance to reach the postseason. “The years before we didn’t really want to play as a team. We weren’t focused like we are this year.”

On the court, Griffith can be penciled in for double-digit scoring performances every night, typically somewhere around 20 a game. He does that while playing positions not always suited for his skill set due to the Spartans needing help at other areas on the court.

Because of that, along with his defensive prowess and leadership abilities, Lake Forest head coach Mike Starkey said Griffith is invaluable to the Spartans. Those attributes are also why Griffith will represent Lake in the annual Blue-Gold All-Star game.

“Dom does a little bit of everything for us,” said Starkey, who is in his first season coaching at Lake Forest. “I really was hoping to come in and keep him off the ball a little more. I’d love to have him on the wing, but we don’t have a true point guard so he’s got to fill that role, he’s got to fill the scoring role, and oftentimes he steps up as our defensive stopper.

“He goes hard every day. And he does it without a break at all. He’s averaging very close to 32 minutes a night. Unless it’s dictated by foul trouble, he very rarely comes off the floor.”

Being a team leader is something Griffith said he enjoys. Even when things might not be going the Spartans’ way.

Those times, in fact, are when his leadership skills are needed the most.

“You tell everybody to keep their head high,” Griffith said. “I can’t hang my head because everybody is counting on me.”

With his high school days coming to an end, Griffith wants to continue playing basketball at the next level, although he isn’t ready to announce where he wants to attend college.

He does, however, know what he wants to study and the field should come as no surprise given his leadership abilities and desire to help people.

“Nursing,” he said when asked what will be his focus in college. “I just want to help people. There’s a lot of people that need help and not that many to help them.”

Before all that though, Griffith has work to do on the court at Lake. Already a player Starkey said he will reference to future generations of Spartans as a “foundation block of the program,” the senior wants badly to be part of the first Lake Forest team to finish with a winning record in several years.

“It would mean a lot,” Griffith said. “We’ve worked hard. We’re really close. It’s not just me, we all want to win.”

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