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Woolfolk signs with Piedmont College

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Guard said biology program sold her on Demorest school

  • Woolfolk signs with Piedmont College
    Lu Woolfolk signed with Piedmont College at home this past Sunday.
  • Woolfolk signs with Piedmont College
    Lu Woolfolk makes layup for Lady Hounds. CHUCK THOMPSON/Staff

As have most of her 2020 classmates, Lu Woolfolk is spending her final days as a high school senior somewhat isolated at home.

“It’s tough. I miss being able to be with my friends,” she said. “I talk to them on the phone. Some of them have been getting together, but my parents won’t let me go anywhere. I know it’s the safest thing to do, so it’s OK.”

But even the isolation couldn’t rob her of a bit of joy this past weekend when she signed to play basketball at Piedmont College in Demorest.

“I’m really thankful to get this chance,” she said.

Normally there is a ceremony at the school for Jones County athletes who sign, with all their teammates, family members and friends there to celebrate and take photos.

Because of the shelter at home requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Woolfolk’s ceremony was at home with just a few family members on hand. But it was still a special day for the senior and her family.

“I’m so happy and proud of her,” said her father, Dennis, Jones County’s former boys’ coach who played for the Greyhounds and went on to play in college and professionally in Europe. “She’s worked really hard to get this opportunity.”

A team leader and leading scorer for the Lady Hounds, Lu Woolfolk was a four-year starter at guard who finished with more than 1,000 points at Jones County.

She helped the Lady Hounds end a 10-year drought of making it to the state playoffs her junior year, as Jones County went 23-7 and advanced to the second round. This past season, the Lady Hounds were 25-6 and made it to the state quarterfinals.

As a senior, she was MVP of the Morris Bank Holiday Classic, was co-player of the year in Region 4-5A, was picked for the GACA all-state team for Class 5A and was honorable mention on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution team.

“I’m very happy for her to get this opportunity,” Jones County coach Cho-Rhonda Gwaltney-Harris said. “No one works harder and is more dedicated to doing well in school and in basketball. She really took over as a leader last year when I was pregnant and couldn’t always be there, and she continued it this season when we were adding a lot of younger girls to the team. I know she’ll do great at Piedmont.”

Woolfolk said she chose Piedmont because it has a good basketball program, she liked the coach and it is a top academic school with a good biology program.

An honor student with a 4.0 GPA, she plans to major in biology with the idea of going on to become a pediatrician.

“That’s been my plan for a while. I like kids and want to be in the medical field,” she said. “I had a chance to visit the school a while back and liked the way the biology school has a lot of hands-on instruction.”

The Lady Lions are coached by Jamie Purdy, an alumnus, who has directed the program for 15 years. The team won USA South tournament crowns for three consecutive years before finishing as runner-up this season.

Woolfolk said she was contacted by several other schools, including Barton College and Carolina Christian in North Carolina.

“I had visits to Piedmont and Barton lined up before everything was shut down, so I’ve had to do a lot of this online and by phone,” she said of the recruiting process. “But I’m happy to be able to stay a little closer to home so my family can see me play more often.”