Lafayette defeats Grafton, wins BRD boys basketball title

Marty O'Brien
Contact Reportermobrien@dailypress.com

One of the few holes on a Lafayette High gymnasium wall crowded with reminders of the school’s athletic success is one for a Bay Rivers District boys basketball championship banner. The Rams ensured they will finally fill it after 20 seasons in the league with a 51-41 win over Grafton on Thursday.

“Making history, it feels great,” Lafayette guard Keyshawn Jefferson said. “There’s no banner up there for the district championship, so we’ll definitely look forward to getting that up.”

Jefferson’s defense on Grafton standout guard Josh Moore was as important as the game-high 21 points he scored. Jefferson and Moore are considered the Bay Rivers’ best guards, and they faced off on both ends of the court.

Their defense stood out in the first quarter, after which Grafton led 10-8. Moore was 0 for 5 from the field, while Jefferson did not get off a shot.

That was fine with Rams coach Bobby Woollum.

“The greatest compliment I can give Keyshawn is that he let the offense come to him,” Woollum said. “The last couple of years he wouldn’t do that.

“His idea coming into the game was, ‘I’m going to guard as well as I can.’ He did that from the beginning.”

By halftime, Moore was just 1 of 9 from the field. Jefferson began to heat up a little, with a pair of 3-pointers, as the Rams (18-2, 16-1 district) edged ahead 22-20 at halftime.

Brandon Bomboy kept the Clippers in contention with three first-half 3-pointers. Sophomore Tyler Neville provided the offensive spark for Lafayette, driving to the basket aggressively in scoring 10 of his 16 points in the first half.

“Tyler’s been good all year,” Woollum said. “He’s wide open. That’s the way he plays.”

Moore (10 points) blew by Jefferson for a layup to start the second half and tie the score at 22. Jefferson responded with a 3-pointer and the Rams never trailed again.

They didn’t sprint away from the Clippers (15-5, 13-3). Instead, they slowly smothered them into submission as everyone on the floor for the Rams played defense with relentless intensity. Grafton made just 8 of 31 field-goal attempts in the second half, turning the ball over seven times in the final two quarters.

We played hard, we competed,” Woollum said. “That’s all it is.

“If we compete, play hard and go after the boards, the sky’s the limit.”

The Rams’ lead crested at 44-33, thanks to a 9-3 run to start the fourth quarter. Jefferson began the surge with four consecutive free throws before Neville hit a pull-up jumper and Sutton Perozek a long 3.

Jefferson went 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help the Rams ice the game and the district title. Moore finished 5 of 16 from the field.

“I knew a key to winning was to shut Moore down,” Jefferson said. “I take pride in my defense, and I knew it was between me and Moore for BRD Player of the Year, so I definitely wanted to prove I was the man.”

Grafton played the game under difficult circumstances. The Clippers were without head coach Jeremy Jordan, whose father, Everett Jordan, passed away on Sunday and whose funeral the players attended before getting on the bus to come to Lafayette.

“I think what’s going on in general affected the kids,” said Grafton junior-varsity coach Mark Yancey, who filled in for Jordan. “A little of our play had to do with that, maybe a lot.

“But we’re not going to put it all on that. We just couldn’t hit shots and could’ve played better defense, and Lafayette made plays at the right moment.”

And will raise a banner to show for it.

“It was well-deserved and main thing is we’re not done yet,” Rams point guard Tim Woollum said. “This is just one thing we wanted, to get the (district championship banner) up, but it’s not the only banner we wanted, so we’re not stopping there.”

LAFAYETTE 51, GRAFTON 41

GRAFTON (15-5, 13-3): Moore 10, Miller 3, Ellsworth 3, Nix 10, Bomboy 15. Totals 15 7-10 41.

LAFAYETTE (18-2, 16-1): Jefferson 21, Neville 16, Parrott 2, Darling 3, Perozek 9. Totals 18 11-18 51.

Grafton: 10, 10, 10, 11 – 41

Lafayette: 8, 14, 13, 16 – 51

3-point goals: Grafton 4 (Bomboy 3, Miller), Lafayette 4 (Jefferson 3 Perozek). JV: Grafton won.

O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963 and on Twitter @MartyOBrienDP

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