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A Timmy Woollum 3-pointer with one minute to play lifted Lafayette to a major 54-52 win at home against Denbigh on Monday to kick off the season.
Woollum's fourth-quarter heroics came on a night in which he scored a team-high 16 points, with six coming in the fourth quarter.
Taking on a physically gifted Denbigh team and still slowly working players fresh off football season into basketball shape, Lafayette Coach Bobby Woollum knew topping the Patriots would be a tall task for the Rams to open the season.
However, the Rams withstood a final barrage from Denbigh in the fourth quarter to gut out the narrow victory.
"I was proud of everybody," Bobby Woollum said after the game. "In the past, this team would get down and kind of shut down. This time they got down late, fought back and won."
An up-tempo first quarter gave way to early points in transition for Lafayette, while Denbigh struggled to find consistent offense and relied on free throws outside of a pair of 3-pointers from Issac Clay.
Lafayette put together a small run on Denbigh to open the second quarter thanks to a seven-point quarter by Cameron Edwards. Denbigh's Eric Heard countered with an eight-point quarter of his own, which helped spark an 8-0 Denbigh run to pull within four points of Lafayette by the half.
The third quarter picked up in terms of scoring as Denbigh and Lafayette played a more hectic style of ball. Lafayette opened the second half with a full-court press, which led to transition opportunities and turnovers for both teams.
Lafayette handled the frenetic pace slightly better than the Patriots, outscoring Denbigh 16-13 in the third quarter.
Big fourth quarters by Clay and Heard helped the Patriots erase a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter. With 5:50 left in the game, Heard splashed a 3-pointer that tied the game at 43-43.
Lafayette's Keyshawn Jefferson pulled down an offensive rebound off a Woollum shot and laid the ball in tie the game at 49-49 with 1:37 left. Heard responded by drawing a shooting foul on the other end and sinking both free throws to put Denbigh back up two points.
With about one minute remaining, Woollum found himself with space behind the 3-point arc and calmly drained a go-ahead 3-pointer that put Lafayette up 52-51.
Denbigh was unable to counter with a basket of its own, instead trading free throws with Lafayette down the stretch until the Rams were able to dribble out the clock.
"[This win is] a confidence builder," Bobby Woollum said after the win. "They've been working hard, and we're still waiting on Trey Neville, our best player, to get into basketball shape. Our guys have to keep fighting and know that when he gets here, things will get better."
Lafayette (1-0) will kick off district play Wednesday when the Rams host Warhill.
Denbigh: 9 12 13 18 — 52
Lafayette: 12 13 16 13 — 54
Denbigh: Clay 14, Bryant 2, Heard 20, Dancy 4, Blackmon 4, Turner 1, Scott 7
Lafayette: Jefferson 6, Logan 12, Woollum 16, Edwards 9, Canaday 11
3-point goals: Denbigh 7 (Clay 4, Heard 3), Lafayette 3 (Jefferson, Woollum, Edwards)
WCA Dismantles Denbigh Baptist
Williamsburg Christian Academy had little trouble scoring against Denbigh Baptist at home Monday, winning in an 85-16 rout.
Led by Ryan Stover's 17 points and Xavier Green's 15 points, WCA was able to jump out to a dominating 63-8 halftime advantage.
The Eagles were able to play every player on their bench during the second half, as WCA cruised to the finish line for a commanding victory.
WCA (2-0) will travel to take on Portsmouth Christian on Tuesday.
Denbigh Baptist: 2 6 2 6 — 16
WCA: 28 35 8 14 — 85
Denbigh Baptist: Stevens 2, Copeland 3, Yi 2, Phillips 4, Hutsell 3, Marshall 2
WCA: Flanagan 3, Kean 3, D. Cook 5, Brown 10, R. Cook 6, Greene 8, Thomas 2, Green 15, Anderson 6, Radcliffe 4, Ortiz 6, Stover 17
3-point goals: Denbigh Baptist 2 (Copeland, Hutsell), WCA 12 (Flanagan, Kean, D. Cook, Brown 2, Greene, Green, Anderson 2, Stover 3)