By Garrett Mitchell, Contributing Writer
The winter sports season at Woodruff High School is in the books with the wrestling teams and both basketball squads experiencing terrific campaigns competing in Region III-3A. The girls’ basketball team, ranked in the top 10 of the 3A classification all season, saw their dream year come to a heartbreaking end after seeing a double-digit fourth quarter lead erased in their second-round contest at Seneca, falling 58-53. The boys’ hoops squad achieved long-sought-after success while the wrestling team celebrated the accomplishments of a talented senior class in 2019-20.
The Lady Wolverines finished the season 21-7 overall and claimed second play in region play with an 8-2 mark. The season was highlighted by multiple individual and team accomplishments. Star senior Zavia Jeter, who is committed to Spartanburg Methodist College, finished her stellar career with 1,084 points which is ninth best in school history. Her 693 career rebounds are the fifth most in the history of Woodruff High School. Jeter also finished third all-time in career assists and in the top five for steals while earning 3A All-State honors for the second consecutive season. Fellow senior Kaliyah Gilliam also wrapped up a fine career, finishing in the top-10 in school history in multiple statistical categories, including free throw proficiency, steals, and assists. Junior Maddie Grace Runyans, an All-Region selection along with Jeter, had a break-out campaign, scoring 377 points and averaging 13.5 per game. Along with fellow juniors Brooke Bailey and Lillie Rhodes, they will anchor what should be another strong Woodruff team next year.
The Wolverine boys’ basketball team, hampered by late season injuries, fell in the first round of the play-offs to the Camden Bulldogs by a score of 59-54. Still, it was a renaissance year for the Wolverines who finished 14-10, their first winning record since the 2012-13 season. Woodruff also ended region play with a 7-3 record, good for second place and hosted their first home play-off game in 39 years. Junior Zy Scott was the team’s leading scorer, averaging just shy of 12 points per contest. Dyon Bartley, also a junior, saw his season end due to an arm injury during the last week of the regular season, but still took home All-Region honors in his first varsity campaign. Senior point guard Marquel Evins also got the nod as an All-Region player and as a prolific passer finished in the top 10 in school history for assists for boys’ basketball.
The varsity wrestling team fell in the second round of the 3A play-off duals to perennial powerhouse West Oak after defeating Camden in round one. The team also finished second among Region III-3A competition and bolstered a talented roster led by seniors Tony De La Garza, Ja Young, Charles Landrum, Lavelle Martin, and Noah Johns. Freshman Genaro De La Garza was also sensational, with one of the best ninth grade seasons in school history for wins and pinfall victories. Tony De La Garza and Johns were both selected to compete at the North-South All-Star Tournament, held from March 5-7, at North Myrtle Beach High School. Additionally, Tony has a career record of 158-13, is a four-time individual region champion, 2018 upper-state champion, 2018 state runner-up, and is second all-time in school history in wins and career pins at Woodruff High School. Johns also concludes a decorated career with an overall record of 143-59. He is a 2020 region champion, 2018 state runner-up, 2019 state qualifier, and is fourth all-time in career wins and third all-time in career pins at Woodruff.