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Strong Motivated To Make History In Celina In 2021

Story and Photo by Kailee Means / UC Sports Nation

 Motivation is a key component of one’s stride toward success, and Clay County Junior Grant Strong has a few motivating factors that are contributing to his outstanding season this year.

The 6’5 wing is averaging 33.3 points a game, and he scored his 1,000 point against Eagleville on Dec. 18. Strong also topped his career-high with 48 points against Monterey on Dec. 15, a performance that even Strong admits he was unaware of since he was focused solely on winning the game.

“I didn’t even know I had that many,” Strong said. “I was just playing and looking at the scoreboard and (the lead) would just be five and seven points. I was still just trying to build that lead for our team.”

The Bulldog’s season ended last year at the TSSAA State Championship, as it was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Strong has made it clear since then that his main goal for the 2020-21 season is to return to Murfreesboro in March so they can finish what the team feels they started. To do that, the junior knows that it’ll take hard work and dedication.

“Just doing what we did last year, and practicing and going hard everyday,” Strong said. “We’re just working and getting a lot better going through the season, getting back to Murphy Center and hopefully getting to play this year.”

Despite the team going 29-4 in 2019-20 and Strong playing a heavy role in that, he says that one of his motivations is the lack of respect he feels both he and the team got for the way their season went.

“Something that personally motivates me is that I was left off the All-State Team last year, and I felt as if I deserved to be on the team,” Strong said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was younger to win Mr. Basketball, so that is pushing me as well.”

The Bulldogs currently sit atop the standings of District 6-A with a 5-0 record in league play, and an 11-2 record overall after their 61-53 win over Trousdale County on Saturday.

While it certainly appears that this team seems primed more than ever to make it back to Murfreesboro, Strong refuses to take anything for granted and wants to make history in Celina.

“Clay County High School has never had a team win a state championship,” Strong said. “We want to be that first team (to win a title).”

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