Kyle Grisby has impeccable timing as a basketball player.
With First Assembly losing four starters from its state runner-up team, Grisby stepped into a leadership role this year as the Eagle's only returning starter. When First Assembly tried to make another run at a state title this season, Grisby played some of his best ball down the stretch.
The Eagles lost in the state championship game for the second consecutive year, but it marked the conclusion of an outstanding three-year run in two sports for the First Assembly senior.
Between football and basketball, the 5-foot-7, 145-pound Grisby played in five state championship games and was named to the all-state basketball team his final season. Basketball coach Dave Murr says he's getting attention from some small colleges, and Grisby is looking forward to a career in sports management.
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Management was not one of Grisby's strong points as he transferred to First Assembly from Jay M. Robinson for his sophomore year. Grisby admits that he was shy back then, a tool never found in an effective point guard's toolbox.
But Murr still saw some raw ability and potential. Grisby averaged 10.3 points, three assists and two steals in 2007-08 as First Assembly reached the 3A NCISAA state tournament.
Murr has seen Grisby develop and appreciate the team concept more with each season since. As a junior, Grisby averaged 14.9 points, five assists and almost three steals a game and was named to the Metrolina Athletic 2A all-conference team. The Eagles reached the 2A state championship game but fell to Asheville Christian.
This season, Grisby's shooting improved from the three-point arc and free throw line and his scoring increased to 20.8 ppg. Murr researched some numbers and realized that Grisby's three-point shooting was 26.2 percent during his first two seasons but jumped to 35.8 percent this year.
Likewise, Grisby shot 70.3 percent from the free-throw line for two seasons but improved to 85.4 percent this year. He still managed a good floor game, averaging about five assists a game, and came through in key moments.
In a critical game against Metrolina Christian, First Assembly trailed by 12 points in the final seven minutes. Grisby scored 15 of his 19 points in the final quarter as the Eagles pulled out a two-point victory to hang on to first place in the conference.
His free-throw shooting was a perfect 26-26 in four state tournament games. The Eagles fell to Charlotte Victory Christian 72-58 in the championship game. Grisby finished with 1,329 career points.
In football, Grisby became an impact player as soon as he was promoted to the varsity team after the end of the junior varsity season in 2007. In First Assembly's first state championship game appearance, against Harrells Academy, Grisby caught two touchdown passes and helped the Eagles to the Division II championship.
"It was a big surprise," said Grisby. "I didn't think we would win a state championship so quick. I thought it would come later in 11th or 12th grade."
First Assembly returned to the state title game against Harrells during his junior year but lost. Grisby emerged as a valuable commodity, starting at receiver and defensive back and returning punts and kickoffs.
This year, Grisby recorded more than 1,300 all-purpose yards and was named all-conference. His season highlights included five touchdowns in a win over SouthLake Christian and catching a touchdown pass in the Eagles' state championship win over Harrells.
"It's been fun and exciting," said Grisby. "We've had good chemistry on our teams. I enjoy coach Murr and coach Mike (football coach Mike Minter). We've had some good teams each year."