Woodmore guides No. 7 Marlins past Lynchburg
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Veteran players generally answer the call when a team needs someone to step up and lead the way.
That scenario played out a little differently however on Wednesday at the Jane P. Batten Student Center where DJ Woodmore, a rookie, filled the need to help steer the Virginia Wesleyan College Marlins to a 60-52 Old Dominion Athletic Conference win over a pesky Lynchburg College squad.
Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown) turned it on in the final two minutes to score 11 of his team-high 17 points. He started to take over for the No. 7 Marlins when he ripped through his lone triple of the night, off an assist from junior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac) to give the Marlins a 50-48 lead with 2:04 remaining in the game.
A missed jumper by the Hornets on the ensuing play was rebounded by Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry), and the ball found its way once again to Woodmore, who knocked in a jumper to give VWC a 52-48 advantage.
Lynchburg (11-13, 6-9) could not produce an answer from the field. Nate Campbell (Cary, N.C./Cary)hit a basket to give the Hornets a 44-42 lead with 4:59 remaining, but it turned out to be the last Lynchburg field goal against stepped up VWC defensive pressure. The Hornets managed eight shots in the final four minutes, but most were hurried and two moves inside for scores were swatted away by Vaughn.
Astorga hit a triple to give VWC a 45-44 lead, but the Hornets were able to take the lead twice in the next minute of free throws by Campbell and Austin Chillemi (Richmond, Va./Trinity Episcopal). Chillemi hit two that put Lynchburg in front 48-47 seconds before Woodmore hit the momentum-changing triple that gave Virginia Wesleyan the lead for good.
Andrew Simmons (Chesterfield, Va./Meadowbrook) hit four free throws in the final minute to keep Lynchburg close. But, VWC answered from the stripe at the other end of court where Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart)and Woodmore hit the shots for the Marlins. Woodmore came up with two big defensive rebounds in the final 38 seconds, drew the fouls, and hit 6-of-6 free throws.
Virginia Wesleyan started the competition unable to find get the ball to drop, while Lynchburg hit nearly everything it attempted. VWC put up 18 shots in the first 11 minutes and hit only four, with junior Ali Brown (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan)nailing two. Lynchburg, on the other hand, attempted 13 shots and nailed 10, led by a 4-of-5 effort by Campbell. The Hornets led 24-13 after Robby Kaiser (East Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg) ripped through a triple.
Lynchburg stretched its lead to 28-15 on a Campbell jumper, before Virginia Wesleyan started to respond. Woodmore hit a jumper and Astorga followed with a triple, ignited a 10-2 first half finish by the Marlins, who trailed 30-25 at halftime.
Virginia Wesleyan returned to the court to outscore Lynchburg 8-3 to create a 33-all deadlock. That started a see-saw battle that produced three more tie scores and seven lead changes....the seventh giving VWC the lead for good on Woodmore's triple.
Woodmore, who scored 15 points in the second half, 11 in the final two minutes, also pulled down eight rebounds. Astorga finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Vaughn tallied 12 points and produced a game-high 13 rebounds. He also had three blocks and three steals.
Campbell, who had 16 points at halftime, finished with 23, hitting 10-of-22 field goal attempts. He co-lead the Hornets with nine rebounds, sharing that lead with Chillemi. Campbell was the only Hornet in double-figure scoring as no other Lynchburg player scored more than five points. Lucas Tucker (Herndon, Va./Herndon) helped the Hornets with five assists and four steals.
Lynchburg, the top free-throw shooting team in the league, protected that status by hitting 15-of-17 attempts, led by Simmons' 4-of-4 showing. VWC hit 17-of-23, led by Vaughn at 6-of-6. Virginia Wesleyan held the advantage on the boards, 42-33.
Virginia Wesleyan closes the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 19, playing at Emory & Henry College at 2 p.m.