From staff reports
Basketball season tipped off during the month of December and the Spalding boys and the Griffin girls each won their opening games of the month - the Jags defeated Jackson-Atlanta 70-60 at home behind Aramis Jester’s 19 points and three assists (improving to 2-0) while Tedra Alford’s 14 points led the Griffin Lady Bears to a 52-46 overtime win against Stockbridge at The House. Both victories came on December 2.
Also on December 2, the Spalding girls basketball team fell to Jackson-Atlanta 51-44, despite 12 points from Elem Ibiam. The shorthanded Griffin boys team lost to Stockbridge 75-50 at home to fall to 0-1. In college sports that day, Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coach of the Year for guiding the Yellow Jackets to share the league lead in wins, competing for the league title and knocking off in-state rival Georgia 45-42.
On December 3, the awards kept rolling in for Georgia Tech as running back Jonathan Dwyer was named the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Also that day, Georgia Tech accepted a bid to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve in the Georgia Dome.
On December 5, the magical run for the Griffin Bears football team ended in Clarkston as the Tucker Tigers used a punishing defense and superb offense to beat Griffin 34-0 in the Class AAAA state semifinals. The Bears end their season with a 10-4 record. In other high school sports action that weekend, the Spalding Jags basketball team defeated Woodward Academy and Rutland to improve to 4-0 on the season, the best start for the Jags in years.
On December 6, the Griffin Bears basketball team came up short against the Douglass Astros, losing 58-54, despite 28 points from Shaquille Barber. Also on December 6, Tim Tebow’s three touchdown passes helped the Florida Gators defeat the No.1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 31-20 to win the Southeastern Conference championship. With the win, the Gators will likely head to the BCS National Championship game. The ACC title went to the Virginia Tech Hokies on Dec. 6, 30-12 winners over Boston College.
On December 8, college football officials announced that the BCS National Championship game will pit the Florida Gators against the Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 8 in Miami. That same day, Tim Tebow won his second straight SEC Offensive Player of the Year Award while Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was named SEC Coach of the Year.
Also on December 8, former Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddux announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after 23 seasons, 355 wins and a world title with the Braves in 1995. In pro sports action that day, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 29-25 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
On December 9, the Spalding Jags’ perfect start came to an end as the team dropped a 60-59 overtime game to the Woodland-Stockbridge Wolfpack. Spalding fell to 4-1 with the loss. The Spalding girls crushed Woodland 61-33 that evening to improve to 3-2 on the year, thanks to 22 points and 13 rebounds from Shakeva Richards.
On December 11, the Griffin Christian boys basketball team buried 13 three-point shots in shellacking the Monroe Academy Mustangs 82-31 to improve to 7-1. Matthew Hammond led the Crusaders with 22 points, including five treys, along with five steals and three assists. The Lady Crusaders also won that night, beating the Monroe Academy girls team 34-15 behind 16 points from Tatum Daniel. In college football that day, officials announced that LSU would be Georgia Tech’s opponent in the Chick-fil-A Bowl while the Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Michigan State Spartans in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day in Orlando, Fla.
On December 12, the Griffin girls basketball team lost its first game of the year, a 54-50 setback to Dutchtown. Tedra Alford led the Lady Bears with 15 points followed by Aneesah Head with 13. The Griffin boys team finally got their first win for new head coach Deon Daniel, sprinting past Dutchtown 67-52 behind 20 points from Shaq Barber.
On December 13, the Griffin Bears won the rematch against the Douglass Astros, beating them 62-57 to bring their season record to 2-2. Also that night, the Tucker Tigers defeated the Marist War Eagles 15-3 to claim the Class AAAA state football title at the Georgia Dome.
Also on December 13, Oklahoma University quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, beating out Texas qb Colt McCoy and Florida qb Tim Tebow.
On December 14, Faith Christian Academy’s Robert Jackson was named the Griffin Daily News Player of the Year in football. Griffin head football coach Steve DeVoursney was named the GDN Coach of the Year for the fourth year in a row.
On December 16, Griffin senior defensive end Telvin Nash was selected to play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star football game on Monday, Dec. 29. Nash is the fourth Griffin player to receive this selection, following Tyler Ogletree in 2005, Bobby Rainey in 2006 and Toby Jackson in 2007.
On December 16, former Griffin Bear football standout Leon Berry was named to the 2008 NJCAA All-American second team while a sophomore at East Mississippi Community College. Berry, a wideout and kick returner, averaged 130.9 all purpose yards per game in 2008.
On December 17, Falcons running back Michael Turner and wide receiver Roddy White were named to the 2008-09 NFL Pro Bowl Feb. 8 in Hawaii. Falcons qb Matt Ryan was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate. Also that day, former Washington Redskins Hall of Fame quarterback “Slingin” Sammy Baugh died from health issues in Texas. He was 94.
On December 18, the Griffin Christian boys basketball team again whipped some Mustangs: this time it was the ones from Macon Area Christian beating them 85-33. Dominique Philpotts led GCHS (11-1) with 26 points.
On December 19, Griffin senior Telvin Nash signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at Kennesaw State University. Also that day, the Griffin Bears football team finished the year ranked fifth in Class AAAA in the GaSports.com Coaches poll.
On December 20, former Griffin Bears standout and current safety at Troy University Sherrod Martin has been invited to participate in the Under Armour Senior Bowl Jan. 24 in Mobile, Ala. Martin is the second straight Troy player to be invited to this game. Also that day, Griffin native Leon Berry of East Miss. Community College signed a letter of intent to finish his college football career at Mississippi State University.
On December 21, the Atlanta Falcons clinched their first NFL playoff berth in four years, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-17 on the road.
On December 22, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford was named AP Player of the Year. Bradford, a qb, also won the Heisman Trophy this month.
On December 23, the Griffin Bears basketball team nipped the state-ranked Redan Raiders 39-37 in their final game of the DeKalb Christmas tournament to even their record at 4-4. Oscar Moore led Griffin with 11 points. Also that day, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was named AP Coach of the Year.
On December 27, Aramis Jester’s 13 points and Rodney Gilbert’s 10 led the Spalding Jags to a 36-34 win over crosstown rival Griffin in basketball action at The House.
On December 28, the Atlanta Falcons beat the St. Louis Rams 32-27 for their 11th win, but they had to settle for a wild-card playoff spot due to the Carolina Panthers’ 33-31 victory over the New Orleans Saints. That same day, the Detroit Lions set the NFL record for futility, becoming the first team ever to go 0-16 on the season. The next day, three head coaches - Rod Marinelli of the Lions, Eric Mangini of the New York Jets and Romeo Crennel of the Cleveland Browns - were fired.