757Teamz Notes: Former Lafayette star named Rams’ boys basketball coach; baseball team also has a new coach

·4 min read

George Piggott, who helped Lafayette win two Bay Rivers District tournament championships almost two decades ago, is back at the school as its boys basketball coach.

Piggott replaces Bobby Woollum, who led the Rams to district championships two of the past three seasons. Woollum resigned after five seasons to focus on his job in the athletic department at Christopher Newport University.

In addition to setting the school scoring record at Lafayette, Piggott might best be remembered for his clutch play in consecutive district tournament championship victories over powerhouse Bruton teams. In the district championship game his sophomore season in 1999, Piggott’s steal and basket clinched the win over a 23-0 Bruton team.

“It’s wonderful,” he said of being named Lafayette’s coach. “It feels like perfect timing to come back 20 years after graduating.”

After playing wide receiver for Grambling’s football team in college, Piggott spent much of his time as a basketball assistant in the Bay Rivers. A mental health counselor by day, Piggott assisted at Lafayette for a season, before coaching the junior varsity and assisting at Jamestown for 12 seasons.

Piggott assisted Donovan Bridgeforth on the Jamestown team that reached the 2017 Class 4 state final. His father, George Piggott Sr., also assisted on that Jamestown team and will assist his son at Lafayette.

“The junior varsity coaching experience helped me a lot,” he said. “It not only taught me to prepare kids for varsity, but it taught me the game from a different look — how the game slowed down and how to treat your kids.”

Lafayette names new baseball coach

Matt Mills said it’s fun to remind Lafayette’s baseball players that they are still the defending Class 3 state champion. By the time they take the field in the spring, however, it will be almost two years since the 9-8 win over Riverside in Salem and Mills will be their third head coach.

Rick Schenk, who guided the Rams to state titles in 2015 and ’19, retired a few months after the state final and was replaced by Grafton assistant Jayson Basanes. After coaching the Rams through a couple of scrimmages before COVID-19 canceled the 2020 season, Basanes left the area for a teaching job in Northern Virginia.

Mills, the Rams' junior varsity coach and varsity assistant since 2015, moves into the top spot. A former high school baseball player in Connecticut, Mills, 33, feels his familiarity with the players should make for a seamless transition.

“I know how they think, how they play and where they want to go,” said Mills, a real estate salesman whose 2021 team will be led by Luke Hanson, the winning pitcher in the ’19 state final. "Since coming to Lafayette in 2015, I have seen the program and the culture of the school, and it’s a place I wanted to call home.'

King’s Fork’s Jayden Epps shines

King’s Fork boys basketball standout Jayden Epps' stock continues to rise as he shines on the Seen Circuit, an elite eight-team basketball league drawing many of the best players in the state. His exploits for AB41 757 Hawks this past weekend attracted a scholarship offer from DePaul — the latest on a growing list of Division I offers.

Epps is averaging 25 points for the AB41 757 Hawks, making him the only player on the circuit over 20 points per game. With Cape Henry’s Christian Moore and Norview’s Jaylani Darden both scoring at better than a 15-points per game clip, AB41, sponsored by longtime NFL star Antoine Bethea, is the lone unbeaten team following last week’s stop in Virginia Beach.

Win or lose, league founder Stefan Welsh, Woodside’s head coach, said the Seen Circuit is significantly increasing Division I offers for those involved. Welsh says that 70 collegiate coaches watch the live streams of games, eager for any venue to evaluate players after being off of the road for many months because of COVID-19.

Seen Circuit play concludes in Richmond on November 14. But Welsh says the interest college coaches have shown means it will be back next year, perhaps with national teams and a girls league.

Marty O’Brien, 757-247-4963, mjobrien@dailypress.com

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