In a raucous gym, a pull-up jump shot didn’t fall. The next thing everybody heard was a yell. It was Griffin Lutz, disappointed he didn't make his shot.
A 3-pointer went in. The next thing everyone heard was a yell.
It was Lutz again, excited his teammate Dalton Cozart buried his shot.
Other than his loud yells after missed or made shots, Lutz tends to be very expressive while on the court. He will dive for loose balls near the sideline and will then look to the referee to try and convince him to give his Bulldogs possession. Lutz always does this with a smile on his face.
Why does Lutz express himself so much when on the court?
“He enjoys playing,” Cindy Lutz, his mom, said. “That makes it fun for for us because it is fun for him.”
Griffin also expresses himself to focus on the game better, his dad Tim Lutz said, adding that, “I would assume it kind of relaxes him to stay in the game and not worry about all the noise around him."
Griffin grew up playing against older competition, and it has made him more expressive while on the court. He became Athens' senior leader and captain this year, which has pushed him to be more vocal on the court.
“He’s become a lot more confident,” Cindy said. “He’s the older one and not the younger one out there.”
While Griffin isn't the only player that shows his emotion on the court, he often stands out the most and is the most frequent.
“My teammates are pretty quiet,” Griffin said. “I like to get them up during the game.”
His teammates notice, and Griffin gets done what he wants to do.
“He gets our team riled up,” junior Robert Dickelman said.
Dickelman is another player that expresses himself more than others while on the court. He often can be seen pushing back his flowing hair a little harder than normal after a close call goes against Athens, or playing more aggressive than anybody around him.
“He’s our enforcer,” coach Mickey Cozart said.
Again, the question is: Why does Dickelman express himself so much while on the court?
“That’s just the heat of the moment,” he said. “I don’t usually think about it.”
There have been times this season where the Bulldogs have gotten into physical games with a lot of fouls. Sometimes, opposing fans will yell at the Athens players. When this happens, a player like Lutz just smiles and goes back to the game.
Other times, there is talking between players on the court. Often times, the Athens players talk back.
“There’s a lot of talking people don’t see,” Dickelman said. “When things get down to the line at the end of the game, it starts to get pretty frequent.”
No matter the reason that players like Griffin or Dickelman express themselves so openly on the court, it brings the Bulldogs together and brings them into the game.
“When Griff feels it, we all feel it,” senior Brody Ball said.
So last weekend, when Ball got a steal, finished a layup in transition and got fouled in the process, the first person there to celebrate with him was none other than Griffin, with a smile on his face.