Rock Lions see success at BRCS Invitational

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

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By Meghan Shultz

The Rock Church Lions varsity team were 12 and 2 entering into the BRCS Invitational Tournament in Richmond last weekend.

They faced New Life Academy from Elizabeth City in the first round. The Lions were dominant from the beginning to the end of the game and walked away with a 62-44 win. New Life came within 11 points at one time in the third quarter but the Lions were just too much for them. D.J. Dillon led all scores with 30, while Jordan Myrick finished with a double-double, having 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Rock Church moved on to the semifinals to play the Team Assist Academy. Team Assist were full of athletes and played Rock man-to-man full-court from beginning to end. The Lions were able to handle the pressure. The pressure from Team Assist made for a fast paced game, and Rock took advantage as they scored their highest point total of the season.

When the final buzzer sounded Rock was moving on to the championship game by beating TAA by a score of 77-57. Rock had seven players in the scoring column: Luke Blythe, 2; Adam Deaton, 2; D.J. Dillon, 28; Christian Fanjul, 11; Jordan Myrick, 26; Justin Temple, 6; and Seth Woodward with 2. Chris Shortcut from TAA led his team with 25 points.

The BRCS Invitational championship game came down to clearly the two best teams in the tournament: the James River Academy Eagles out of Richmond and the Rock Church Lions. This would be a game for the ages as there were over 12 lead changes. Rock Church came out hot and Jordan Myrick was dominating down low with 8 in the first quarter. The Lions were up 14-6 but James River’s Jay Wolfgang, who stood at 6’6″, brought them back in the game. Wolfgang could shoot inside and out. The Rock Lion’s tallest player is 6’2″ so they clearly had their work cut out for them. James River’s Eli Futrell hit a chip shot at the buzzer to pull the Eagles ahead 33 to 31 at the half.

“We knew we had a game on our hands,” said Coach Danny Dillon. “We sent every defense at them we could. They had four different players hit three pointers in the first half. That’s tough to guard. We knew we still had a chance and hoped that our conditioning would hold up.”

The game went back and forth the entire third quarter and the Eagles found themselves still in the lead 49-45. The championship would come down to one quarter and one final possession. The Eagles took the lead up to 6 points several times but Rock kept battling back. They were down 62-57 with one minute left and it looked to be over for the Rock Lions. D.J. Dillon, who had 26 of his 41 points in the second half, hit two big threes and two big free throws to put Rock up 65-64 with 6 seconds left. The dominant Jay Wolfgang, who finished with 27 points, was able to get open from an inbounds play. With 2 seconds left a reach in foul was called against Rock out at the three point line. Wolfgang hit one free throw to tie it up, and after a Coach Dillon time out, Jay went on to hit the game winning free throw. The Eagles went a near perfect 15 for 16 from the free throw line and the Rock Lions walked away with the second place trophy.

“That was one of the more fun tournaments that I have been a part of,” Coach Dillon said. “Our guys showed so much heart! It was only by God’s grace that the boys even had anything left in the tank for the championship game. For D.J. to hit 8 straight points in the final minute was such a gift to watch. I want to thank James River for their class and sportsmanship. That Wolfgang kid was a ball player, no wonder they say he’s one of the best players in the Commonwealth. I’m telling you we gained more out of this championship loss than we have in our 14 wins this season. God is always so good!”

D.J. Dillon finished with 99 points in the three game tournament. Jordan Myrick averaged a double double in points and rebounds. He averaged 23 points a game in the tournament. Rock Church’s only senior, Christian Fanjul, had career highs with 25 total tournament points.

The BRCA Invitational also held it for four JV teams. The Rock Lions beat Cap City by a score of 43-22 in the semis. The Rock Lions went on to win the championship game versus the James River Eagles by a score of 39-18. Adin Brown, from Rock, led all scores with 30 points and led the tournament with assists. Benny Dillon finished with 25 points and Dallas Dillon knocked down 14 points of his own.

The Rock Lions finish their regular season next Friday at the Ben S. Dillon Life Center versus the  Buford Academy Bobcats.