No. 9 Virginia Wesleyan holds off Apprentice
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan College's 75-73 non-conference victory over Newport News Apprentice on Monday was one of those types of games that can make a team better and a head coach grayer, balder or a combination of both. (Box score)
VWC's seniorless team is maturing each time out, understanding more and more that opponents are not going to let them have anything. They're coming after them.
Apprentice (5-4), a highly athletic team that faced its only Division III foe of the season in the nationally-ranked Marlins, never let No. 9 Virginia Wesleyan (9-0) get too comfortable with the lead at any point of the game at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.
The Builders combined power in the middle with linebacker-like 6-foot-7 Tim Johnson (Little Rock, Ark./Central) and skilled moves from Tevin Andrews (Brundidge, Ala./Pike County) and Isaih Harrison (Abbeville, La./Denbigh) to keep pressure on the host team.
Virginia Wesleyan led by 16 points late in the first half and 43-31 at halftime, but Apprentice pulled the deficit into a single-digit stage on an Andrews layup with 17:22 remaining in the game and stayed within striking distance the rest of the way.
VWC led 60-52 after and jumper by junior Ed Roberts (Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek)with 7:20 on the clock, but saw that lead erased when Andrews and Latrone Demiel (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond River) combined for eight unanswered points.
Virginia Wesleyan remained calm however, and pushed back out in front to stay when sophomoreChris Teasley (Newport News, Va./Menchville) ripped through a three pointer off a feed from rookie DJ Woodmore (Virginia Beach/Landstown). Johnson scored to answer for the Builders, but the Marlins began to create some breathing room again when Woodmore and junior Donald Vaughn (Woodbridge, Va./Dumfries Potomac) sandwiched baskets around an Apprentice turnover.
The Marlins' lead reached eight points twice in the final 1:13, but Apprentice did not roll over. With VWC leading 75-67 with 19 seconds on the clock, the Builders used a three-point play by Andrews to pull within five and forced a Marlin turnover that led to Apprentice's only three-pointer of the game. Joe Lyons (Petersburg, Va./Matoaca) hit it with six seconds remaining to produce the final score.
While Virginia Wesleyan hit 34% from the field in the second half, and only 37% for the game, Apprentice stayed close by nailing 54% in the second half and 47% overall. Long-range shooting produced the difference for the Marlins, as Virginia Wesleyan hit 10-of-30, while Apprentice canned just 1-of-4 attempts. Sophomore Chris Astorga (Suffolk, Va./Virginia Beach Cape Henry) led the Marlins with four triples. Sophomore Tre' Ford (Falls Church, Va./J.E.B. Stuart)and Teasley hit two each.
Astorga emerged as the leading scorer for Virginia Wesleyan with 18 points, followed by Teasley with 14 and Woodmore with 12. Woodmore also recorded a game-high five assists and Astorga turned in a team-high nine rebounds.
Andrews led Apprentice with 22 points, hitting 10-of-18 field goals. He also had 11 rebounds, but was overshadowed by Harrison who pulled down 15. Harrison also scored 18 points. Demiel finished with 10 points.
Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Saturday, Dec. 11, playing at 2 p.m. at Shenandoah University in a non-conference contest.