A look Back at Some of the Highlights from a Banner Year for Woodruff Basketball
By: Garrett Mitchell, Staff Writer
The Woodruff High School Varsity Boys’ Basketball team was no stranger to exciting games in 2020-21. The Wolverines had a knack for late game heroics, overcoming large second half deficits on multiple occasions to win. Down by 21 points late in the second quarter of an early December game against 5A Boiling Springs, Woodruff stormed back to win 84-79 in one of the season’s most thrilling games. In the first round of the 3A play-offs, trailing by 16 to Berea in the third quarter, Woodruff rallied again for the program’s first play-off victory since 2011.
The Woodruff High School Varsity Boys could put up points in a hurry. That was the product of a balanced starting line-up, led by five seniors, who combined to score over 55 points per game. Four of five starters averaged at least 9.4 points per game. D’Yon Barley averaged 15.9 points, Shamare Dendy 14.8, Zy Scott 12.8 and Nathan Montjoy 9.4 for the Wolverines. Woodruff also hit 104 three pointers in 22 games, the second most by a Woodruff boys’ basketball team in school history.
History in the Making
It was not just that these Wolverines could score, but the Woodruff boys had a historic season. Their 16 wins was the most by a Woodruff team since the 1980’s, and the Wolverines advanced to the final eight of the state play-offs for the first time since 1981, a span of 40 years, before ultimately falling to defending 3A State Champion Keenan High School Varsity Boys in the quarterfinal round. Woodruff started the season 13-1 and carried a number four ranking in the 3A Coach’s Poll, and also finished in the top two in their region for the second consecutive year marking an upward trajectory of the program under seventh year Head Coach Bryan McConnell.
The Lady Wolverine Varsity Basketball team also had a successful season, and it started on the defensive end of the court. The Lady Wolverines held opponents to 40 or fewer points in nine of their 21 games and outrebounded opponents by nearly 10 boards per game. That effort helped lead Woodruff to a 14-7 record, the seventh consecutive winning season for the program.
Respect the Elders
Woodruff was led by a starting five that featured three seniors who played four seasons of varsity basketball. Brooke Bailey, Maddie Grace Runyans, and Lillie Rhodes have been a fixture of Lady Wolverine basketball for years, and provided stability and leadership to one of the upstate’s most consistently successful programs. Runyans finished her career inside the top-10 in school history in assists and three-point shooting. Bailey’s 806 career rebounds places third all-time in school history, and she also finished top 10 in assists, steals, and top 15 all-time in points scored in what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career.
Reserve point guard Jensyn Turner made history for the Lady Wolverines, becoming the first middle school player in school history to play varsity basketball. Turner played in 20 of Woodruff’s 22 games, missing only two due to quarantine. Turner more than held her own, and was a steady hand at point guard and a defensive specialist. Turner was among the team leaders in free throw attempts as well, and looks to have a bright career ahead with five more seasons of basketball to play. Undoubtedly, Turner paved the way for other talented middle schoolers to play varsity basketball at Woodruff.