Home Last-second layup from Walyn Napper pushes Longwood past High Point, 74-72

Last-second layup from Walyn Napper pushes Longwood past High Point, 74-72

Chris Graham
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After DA Houston’s key defensive stop with 5.6 seconds left, Walyn Napper took the ball from three-quarters court, drove for the rim and banked in a looping layup with 0.6 seconds remaining, sending Longwood past first-place High Point 74-72, and launching a Lancer crowd that included many of his own family into a frenzy.

Mark it as the greatest, most exciting win yet in the young history of the Joan Perry Brock Center.

“That’s like you plan it in your driveway countdown, shooting around by yourself,” Napper said. “DA got that stop, and as soon I came to the huddle, I said ‘it’s game time.’ It’s a great to go out and finish in the JPB.”

With a loss, Longwood (18-13, 6-10 Big South) would have been a 9-seed destined for a play-in game in next week’s Hercules Tires Big South Tournament.

But thanks to Napper’s heroics, they’ll rocket up to No. 5 seed and play Winthrop next Friday at High Point (24-7, 13-3 Big South).

More than that, the Lancers now have a surge of momentum, having now beaten the league’s top two teams in their final two home games of the inaugural season in the Joan Perry Brock Arena.

“I think it was a tremendous performance by the guys,” Longwood coach Griff Aldrich said. “I thought we probably played 37 minutes of high-intensity, competitive basketball against a very good team. To come out on top is a significant moment for this team because they have believed that they are that good, but to then come out and then beat the number one team, it gives them that added confidence as they go into the tournament.”

The win was also redemption after Longwood rallied from 22 down after halftime on Thursday only to lose to Gardner-Webb on free throws in the final second.

Despite a day’s less rest than High Point, Longwood played with energy, and Napper was ready when the game was on the line.

“As soon as DA got the stop, I went over and sat down and talked to God for about five seconds and said give me the strength to make this shot,” said Napper, who scored 13 points and added six assists. “And when I got the ball, all I saw was the rim. I knew if I got it off there’d be a good chance I’d make it.”

“I don’t know if you can quote this, but I literally prayed today that this would be his best game at Longwood,” Aldrich said. “Walyn hits not only a huge three but also the game winner on a night where he scores his 1,000th point. It’s just providential of everything coming together at once for a young man who has really battled to not only grow as a basketball player, but much more importantly, he has grown significantly as a young man. And I think that’s why you see the success he’s having now is really as a result of his character growth—and some improvement in talent—but he’s really grown as a young man.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].