Amiyah Rollins was one of Wiregrass’ top senior basketball players last season, leading her team to the regional semi-finals.
Leigh Griffin, meanwhile, coached the Houston Academy women’s basketball team to one of its best seasons in more than two decades.
These efforts earned both the top Dothan Eagle awards for the past season in high school women’s basketball.
Rollins, who averaged nearly 20 points and nine rebounds per game helping the Dothan Wolves at the Sweet Sixteen, was selected for the 2021-22 season. Dothan Eagle Player of the Year. Griffin, who led HA to 20 wins and his first regional postseason tournament appearance since 2000, was named the Dothan Eagle Coach of the year.
Rollins achieves goals in senior year
Rollins, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, wanted to improve his scoring average and help his team advance to last season’s regional finals.
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She achieved one goal and matched the other.
In 28 games, Rollins averaged 19.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.3 assists per game as he led Wolves to a 17-11 record and the Class 7A Regional Tournament. South East.
“My goal was to get more points than last year, which was 17 (points per game),” Rollins said. “I turned 19 this year, so I achieved my goal. It was great to accomplish that.
“Team-wise, I wanted to go beyond the Sweet Sixteen and get to the state, but we made it to the Sweet Sixteen.”
Rollins has the ability to beat defenders from the dribble and convert baskets down low or send them to teammates for open shots. She also has a knack for shooting fouls and reaching the foul line (260 free throw attempts; 9.3 attempts per game).
“My biggest skill is driving to the paint and getting to the hole, basically penetrating and knocking down shots and being able to finish with both hands, right and left,” said Rollins said. “I also like to involve my teammates.”
A three-year-old Wolves starter who finished with 1,135 career points, recently signed to play college basketball at Chattahoochee Valley Community College. She hopes it’s a stepping stone to a Division I or Division II program.
Dothan head coach Dishon Benjamin says Rollins played a major role in Wolves winning 50 games and reaching the playoffs in their first three seasons after Dothan merged with Northview in 2019. She played her first year as Dothan Tiger before consolidation.
“She was one of the main reasons why Wolves won their region two out of three years,” Benjamin said. “His number was increasing every year, as well as his confidence. I’m so happy for her and can’t wait to see her perform at the next level.
Rollins said she felt lucky to be named Player of the Year this season.
“It’s exciting,” Rollins said. “It makes me want to go harder and push harder for college. I feel excited and blessed.
Griffin guides HA to rare heights
Although Houston Academy women’s basketball enjoyed moderate success in the mid-2010s under Tony Kirkland, there have been few breakout seasons for the Raiders since the turn of the century.
This last season was an exception.
Griffin, in his fourth year as a college coach, led a Raider team with just three seniors, including one in his first year in the sport, to a 20-7 record, including a sub-regional playoff victory playoffs to advance to the regional tournament. . The 20-win season was only the second this decade (2015-16 went 20-9) at Houston Academy. The regional tournament appearance was the first in 22 years.
The success went beyond the Raiders’ expectations.
“Our goal was to win in the zone,” Griffin said. “I like to set realistic goals. I don’t want to start at the gates and say “let’s try to win the state”. You have to set those realistic goals and for us that was one area. That’s what we fought for and we got it. Then we go to sub-regionals and we won that to do regionals. It was an exciting season. »
While the Raiders were relatively young with only two returning starters, they had a lot of chemistry playing together under Griffin, who coached the junior high school team for the past eight years.
“They were young, but they’ve been together for a while, playing together since middle school,” Griffin said.
Most players this year were part of 38 college/high school winning streak.
Griffin, who returned to the HA college program after a six-game winning season in 2017-18, said a relaxed, fun atmosphere and playing together were key elements that made this year’s team click.
“My husband (Scott) is my assistant coach and it starts with us,” Griffin said. “I think our enthusiasm for the game trickles down to the girls and we have a lot of fun. These girls have been together for many years. We put them in college and trained them. They work well together. They are friends and they have fun together and that makes the difference on the pitch.
Griffin’s training philosophy of “never give up” paid off in several Raider-winning comebacks during the season.
“You never know what will happen if you keep fighting,” Griffin said. “That’s always my mentality.”
“Even though they were down 20, they were still on the pitch giving their all – and there were maybe two minutes left on the clock.”
The chemistry, unity and fighting mentality to the end resulted in a successful season and resulted in Griffin being named Coach of the Year.
“Shocked and honored,” Griffin said of his Coach of the Year pick. “I’m extremely honored and touched by it. We’ve worked hard over the years. The girls had a great season and made me look good.