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Russia sentences Griner to 9 years

During her trial, Brittney Griner was kept in a metal cage in the courtroom. Here she displays a photo of her teammates supporting her.

Swap or Appeal is possible

RUSSIA – Houston Native and Aldine Nimitz graduate Brittney Griner, was found guilty of drug possession and sentenced to 9 years in prison last week, as her trial ended. Although her attorneys had sought a minimum sentence, under Russian law this was one year short of the maximum 10 years possible.

However, Russia subsequently indicated by comments from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that a prisoner swap that involved several other American and Russian prisoners might be possible. He warned the United States government that any discussions of this matter must remain private, as they develop.

The Kremlin said Friday that it’s open to talking about a possible prisoner exchange involving American basketball star Brittney Griner but strongly warned Washington against publicizing the issue.

Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russian court

Brittney Griner appeared on Russian television on the first day of her trial. Here she is leaving the courthouse with handcuffs and a tether to a jailer. The woman behind her, in a striped shirt and jacket, is US State Department charge d’affaires Elizabeth Rood, who was allowed to attend the trial, and later took cellphone photos of Griner leaving.

RUSSIA – Aldine native and American WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Moscow court last Thursday, her lawyers said, leaving her facing the prospect of up to 10 years in prison as her family and friends step up their calls for the U.S. government to do more to free her.

Griner, 31, was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boikov, told reporters outside the courtroom after Thursday’s hearing that the basketball star admitted that the vape canisters were hers, but said she brought them to Russia unintentionally.

“She was in a hurry as she was packing, and it was just by accident that it ended up in her luggage,” Boikov said.

He said that Griner is a “responsible person” in response to a question about why she decided to plead guilty.

“Considering her personality, that she is a role model to many people, to many young people — she just thinks she should be responsible for her actions,” her other lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, told reporters.

In a statement, her lawyers added that because of the “insignificant” amount of the substance found and because of Griner’s “positive contributions to global and Russian sport, the defense hopes that the plea will be considered by the court as a mitigating factor and there will be no severe sentence.”

Griner’s next hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, July 21st.

Imprisoned Brittney Griner draws national attention

A Russian court last week extended the pretrial detention of the W.N.B.A. basketball star and former AISD Nimitz HS athlete Brittney Griner on drug smuggling charges until July 2, pushing her jail stint past the four month mark, according to the official state news agency TASS.

Although her contact with the public has been limited, reportedly her Russian attorney is able to pass notes back and forth, and Griner has been using this method to communicate with family and supporters in the U.S.

A rally in support of her was held last month in Houston, in front of the Toyota Arena where the NBA plays their games. The rally included the presence of American Trevor Reed, recently released from Russian custody in a trade.

It has been suggested in Russian media that Griner is being held by the Russians as a potential swap for a convicted criminal, Viktor Bout, held in the U.S. The State Department has listed the release of Griner as a priority, classifying her as “wrongfully detained,” but not commenting on a possible swap.

To keep attention on her plight, the WNBA this week named Griner as an honorary starter in the upcoming All Star Game to be played in Chicago on July 10th.

Russia may want to trade Griner for criminal in U.S. custody

Brittney Griner is seen on Russian TV leaving a hearing room last week, where she learned that her detention and pre-trial hearing will be extended another month. Griner, in handcuffs, did not speak to the media. She was accompanied by her Russian lawyer, but no U.S. officials have been allowed to see her except once for a welfare check.

WASHINGTON, DC – American officials learned last week that Brittney Griner, a professional women’s basketball star player will be detained for another month in Russian custody, and that her pretrial hearing had been delayed until then.

Griner is well known in Houston and Aldine, where she was a star center for the girl’s basketball team at Nimitz High School. She currently plays for the Phoenix, and was in Russia for the off-season playing pro ball there.

Griner was detained at a Russian airport in February, and charged with having illegal drugs in her luggage. Since then, U.S. officials have been working to get her release, with little progress.

For the first time since Brittney Griner’s arrest almost three months ago, Russia appears to have publicly signaled its asking price for her safe return, if multiple reports by Russian state media are to be believed.

Russia is looking to exchange the WNBA star in a prisoner swap for notorious convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, several state-owned Russian news outlets reported last Friday, citing unnamed government sources.

MacArthur Soccer team Goes on Historic Run in Playoffs

The MacArthur High School Generals soccer team had a playoff run for the ages this season.

The Generals, who finished second in District 14- 6A, won four straight playoff games and were one game away from qualifying for the Class 6A State Soccer Tournament when their historic run was cut short with a 2- 1 loss to The Woodlands in the Region II Finals on April 9 in Austin.

The Generals opened the postseason with a bi-district win over College Park, then defeated Tomball in the area round, Klein in the third round, and No. 10-ranked Duncanville in the Region II Semifinals before dropping a hard-fought contest to The Woodlands.

The 2022 Generals made history by going further in the playoffs than any previous MacArthur soccer team. While head coach Salvador Fernández was sad to see the season end, he was incredibly proud of how his young team performed in the postseason and is excited about the future.

“I am very proud of the team,” Fernández said. “We overcame a lot of adversity together. The team fought hard in every game this season and became a solid unit.”

Brittney Griner arrested at Russian Airport

Former Aldine star woman’s basketball player, Brittney Griner, is reported to have been arrested at the airport as she prepared to leave Russia. She now plays for the Phoenix Mercury, and in the off-season for a Russian team.

She was detained after the Russian Federal Customs Service said it discovered cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport. The offense could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

USA Basketball said in a tweet Saturday that it is monitoring the situation.

“Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns,” the tweet read.

Twenty-six AISD athletes earn scholarships

Pictured are the five MacArthur High School student athletes who signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2. (SEE MORE SCHOOL PHOTOS ON PAGE 8)

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY FEB. 2

Twenty-six Aldine ISD student-athletes received the opportunity to continue their academic and athletic careers when they signed with colleges and universities across Texas and the United States when they signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Nimitz High School led the way with 12 signees, all football players. Cougars who signed were: defensive end Christian Booker, who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, defensive tackle Elijah Sims who signed with East Texas Baptist University, offensive lineman Joshua Ramirez who signed with MacAllister College in Oklahoma, linebacker Bryan Singleton who signed with North American University, defensive end Dorset Singleton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, linebacker Elijah Stewart who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, offensive lineman Tre’Ivion Pikes who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, wide receiver Brandon Miles who signed with the University of St. Mary, defensive back Armon Green who signed with Henderson State University, defensive back Joshua Furr who signed with Louisiana College, wide receiver Quintin Wilson who signed with Louisiana College and running back Eric Milton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport.

MacArthur High School had five student-athletes sign national letters of intent.

NORTHEAST NEWS’ DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR: Huff lets his actions do his talking for him

Nimitz High School safety Cory Huff, right, poses with former Nimitz High star defensive back Michael Thomas at Thomas’ summer football camp.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Cory Huff doesn’t talk a lot, but he lets his actions do his talking for him, and that’s just fine with Nimitz High School head coach Richard Slater.

Huff, a junior, was perhaps the Cougars’ best defensive player during the 2021 season that saw Nimitz earn its first playoff berth in six years.

The 5-11, 185-pounder recorded 55 solo tackles, 21 assists (76 total tackles, an average of 7.6 per game), had one tackle for loss, intercepted three passes, broke up 20 passes and forced one fumble.

Those numbers earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year honors.

And the good news for Slater and his staff is that Huff has a year left to improve his game and to produce even bigger numbers.

Slater isn’t the only one who thinks his safety is a pretty special player. Colleges also have taken notice of the hard-hitting, and fast safety.

NORTHEAST NEWS NAMES COACH OF THE YEAR: Richard Slater takes Nimitz back to the playoffs

Nimitz High School head football coach Richard Slater has been named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Nimitz High School head football coach Richard Slater and his staff knew they had a young team on their hands when the 2021 season began. Nimitz suffered some early losses, but came alive in District 14-6A, where they won four games and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in six years.

By rebounding in league play and leading his team to the playoffs, Slater was named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year.

Slater arrived at Nimitz in 2015 after spending nine years on Gary Joseph’s staff at Katy High School, where he was part of a coaching staff that played in six state title games, and winning three state titles.

In his first year at Nimitz, Slater led the Cougars to the post season and six years later he did it again.

He’s excited about the future because he has a solid nucleus of players who will be back for the 2020 season, including running back Joseph Sanders, quarterback Brayden Whitehead and safety Cory Huff.

Mac Generals stomp Aldine Mustangs 48-6

In the 2nd quarter, Mac Running Back DeMarcus Singletary carries the ball for a 35 yard rushing TD, taking a handoff from the QB Darius Hicks.

The MacArthur Generals varsity football team took a large step toward redeeming their reputation last Saturday, Oct. 2 at Thorne Stadium, defeating the Aldine Mustangs 48-6.

After a 24-10 victory in the first game of the season, the Generals have struggled with their offense, and have not scored any points in the last 2 games. They lost to Nimitz on Friday, Sept. 24 with a score of 3-0. The game had ended in a 0-0 tie, but the Cougars managed to win the game in OT with a field goal.

In this week’s game, the General offense came alive, with daring plays well executed. In the 3rd quarter QB #5 Darius Hicks completed a 74 yard pass to #1 Kendrik Dennis for a TD that brought the score to 41- 0. Then #1 Jason Crampton rushed 65 yards for another TD.