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With Lafayette having lost three consecutive games and four of its last five heading into Friday's home contest against Grafton – one of the top teams in the Bay Rivers District – the odds to come away with a win seemed stacked against the Rams.
However, the Rams had a trick up their sleeves in the form of a new offense predicated on getting more players involved in the offense.
The new offense helped Lafayette pull off one of the biggest upsets in the Bay Rivers District this season, knocking off Grafton 56-51.
"We've been fighting all year with guys buying into the team concept of it's all for one," Lafayette Coach Bobby Woollum said. "I thought we played good defense and we tried to control the tempo."
Woollum said the game plan against Grafton was to prevent the Clippers from running their half-court sets, which are among the best in the region.
To execute the plan, the Rams ran a 1-2-2 zone, also known as a three-quarter court press, that forced Grafton to slowly pass the ball up the court instead of getting into a fast break.
With Grafton's offensive rhythm disrupted, Lafayette was able to take control on defense and force hurried or off-balance shots.
On the other end of the court, Lafayette had a big spark in the first quarter from Keyshawn Jefferson, who scored Lafayette's first seven points of the game.
With an additional five first-quarter points from Jason Adderty, Lafayette established a 17-9 lead over Grafton after one quarter of play.
A 3-pointer by Adderty with 3:51 left in the second quarter put Lafayette up 23-11, which proved the largest lead of the game for Lafayette.
With a 23-15 halftime lead, the Rams would have to hang on for dear life in the second half.
Grafton came out firing in the third quarter, opening on a 5-0 run to pull within three points of the Rams. Coupled with Grafton's defense, which was a highly aggressive man-to-man look, the Clippers began closing the gap.
Just when things began looking dire for Lafayette, the Rams reeled off a crucial 9-0 run, sparked in part by Trey Neville's six third-quarter points, to take a 36-26 lead over Grafton. Neville scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
Things got tight in the fourth quarter as Grafton's Adam King, who missed his first six shot attempts of the game, splashed back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Grafton within one point.
Jefferson responded in a big way for Lafayette by draining a 3-pointer of his own on Lafayette's next offensive possession to slow Grafton's momentum.
With 1:35 left in the game, Jefferson drove the lane and hit a floater that gave Lafayette a 49-45 lead. From there, Grafton was forced to send Lafayette to the foul line while the Clippers shot 3-pointers on offense in an attempt to close the gap.
The Rams went 13-of-16 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, which helped the Rams stave off Grafton's comeback attempts.
"It's a big step for these kids at Lafayette, because they're not used to winning big games," Woollum said. "Maybe this will change their mindset a little bit."
Lafayette (6-8) will try to build on the win with a road game against York on Monday, while Grafton (14-3) will host Warhill on Wednesday.
Grafton: 9 6 14 22 — 51
Lafayette: 17 6 13 20 — 56
Grafton: Alves 12, King 9, Durant 2, Parker 14, Murillo 10, Hawkins 1, Brown 3
Lafayette: Jefferson 12, Adderty 12, Logan 2, Woollum 11, Edwards 7, Neville 12
3-point goals: Grafton 6 (King 3, Parker 3), Lafayette 6 (Jefferson 2, Adderty, Woollum 2, Edwards)
Bruton Dominates Early, Cruises Past York
Jalen Carr scored a team-high 20 points to help lead Bruton to a decisive 80-41 road win against York on Friday.
Spurred on by Carr, who scored 14 of his 20 points in the first quarter, the Panthers opened the game on an 8-0 run. The outburst paved the way for what proved a lopsided game.
After building a nine-point advantage after the first quarter, Bruton blazed past York in the second quarter by a margin of 23-6. By halftime, the Panthers had a comfortable 42-16 lead over the Falcons.
The Panthers continued to roll in the second half with solid scoring efforts from Danjie Taylor (15 points) and Tre Wallace (10 points).
York was unable to handle Bruton's defensive pressure, which led to run outs on offense and easy transition buckets. With the Panthers running wild, York watched Bruton pull further away down the stretch.
Bruton (10-5) has won three consecutive games and will look to continue that streak when they hit the road to play Jamestown on Wednesday.
Conversely, York (0-16) is still looking for its first win of the season. The Falcons will host Lafayette on Monday.
Bruton: 19 23 22 16 — 80
York: 10 6 13 12 — 41
Bruton: Taylor 15, Adkins 4, Jones 5, Carr 20, Calloway 9, Teach 3, Hood 5, Danek 2, Wallace 10, Dockery 7
York: McFadden 6, Patrick 12, Kimrey 6, Simmons 2, Nanartowich 5, Christian 10
3-point goals: Bruton 5 (Carr 3, Taylor, Dockery), York 2 (Kimrey, Nanartowich)
Tabb Drops Road Game Against Smithfield
Tabb's late-season slide continued Friday when the Tigers dropped a 61-43 road game against Smithfield.
After the Tigers took a four-point lead in the first quarter, Smithfield responded by outscoring Tabb 17-8 in the second quarter. The Packers led Tabb 31-26 by halftime.
The second half was less kind to the Tigers as Tabb's offense struggled to find a rhythm. On the other end of the court, Smithfield's offense was rolling as the Packers outscored Tabb 18-9 in the third quarter.
With Smithfield leading Tabb by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Packers cruised through the fourth quarter and easily topped the Tigers.
Tabb (8-9) has lost three consecutive games and five of their last six. The Tigers will try to rebound at home against York on Wednesday.
Tabb: 18 8 9 8 — 43
Smithfield: 14 17 18 12 — 61
Tabb: Jackson 2, Brown 13, Jansen 5, Pearson 9, Jordan 10, Hunter 4
Smithfield: Elliot 2, Turner 15, Jones 14, Stafford 14, Shepherd 8, Moore 3, Tucker 3, Robertson 2
3-point goals: Tabb 1 (Jansen), Smithfield 7 (Turner 2, Jones 2, Shepherd, Moore, Tucker)
HRA Eases Past Peninsula Catholic
Hampton Roads Academy extended its win streak to eight games as the Navigators earned an easy 74-44 road win against Peninsula Catholic on Friday evening.
Anthony Picott put together a strong performance of 28 points, while his teammates Brian Hart and Patrick Phillips added 16 and 12 points, respectively.
The Navigators held a three-point edge after the first quarter, but blew the game open in the second quarter by outscoring Peninsula Catholic 21-8 to take a 33-17 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same as HRA continued to dominate all aspects of the game against Peninsula Catholic. HRA's lead grew to as much as 33 points in the second half before closing the game with an even 30-point win.
HRA (11-6) will try to extend its win streak when the Navigators play a road game against Norfolk Christian on Tuesday.
HRA: 12 21 27 15 — 74
PC: 9 8 15 12 — 44
HRA: Humphrey 6, Canavos 2, Wingfield 2, Hart 16, Picott 28, Mather 4, Phillips 12, Bartol 2, Frasier 2
PC: Candella 8, Claiborne 21, Abdulla 2, Taleghani 2, Polyzos 2, Harris 9
3-point goals: HRA 5 (Hart 4, Picott), PC 1 (Claiborne)
Jamestown Routs New Kent
Jamestown's win streak grew to 12 games Friday evening when the Eagles crushed New Kent 94-68 on the road.
With the win, Jamestown secured a season sweep of New Kent after beating the Trojans 102-65 in December.
Jamestown (14-1) will continue its season at home against Bruton on Wednesday.
Individual statistics were not reported for this game.
Jamestown 94, New Kent 68
Warhill Continues Winning Ways Against Poquoson
Warhill continued its hot streak of play Friday with a 65-56 road win against Poquoson.
After opening the season 1-10, the Lions have won three of their last four games with their only loss coming on the road against Smithfield.
Against Poquoson, Warhill's offense continued to roll along as the Lions fell just short of earning a double-digit victory.
Warhill (4-11) will face a tough test Monday at home against Jamestown.
Individual statistics were not reported for this game.
Warhill 65, Poquoson 56