Westminster, Ohio – Trailing by five at the halftime break, Brevard College used a 22-2 second half run to cruise past Emory & Henry College, 89-73, Monday night in the opening round of the 38th Annual Marietta Shrine Tournament. With the win, the Tornados improve to 5-2 (0-1 SAC), while the Wasps fall to 5-5.
Brevard looked to have an easy victory in hand after building an early double-digit advantage. Jonathan Whitson (Clyde, N.C.) scored eight points in a 14-0 Brevard run that put the Tornados on top 14-3 after Sam Carlisle’s (Raliegh, N.C.) basket at the 16:18 mark. Nathan Whitmire (Rosman, N.C.) gave the Tornados their largest opening half lead with two free throws at the 13:09 mark to put Brevard in control, 18-6.
But thanks in large part to Brevard turnovers and foul trouble for Whitson, the pesky Wasps clawed back into the game in the later stages of the first half. Paul Russo’s team used a 19-4 run of their own, capped by free throws from Josh Lee (Raleigh, N.C.) to take a 25-22 lead with 7:18 to play in the half.
A three-pointer by Brevard’s Darin Dellinger (Stanley, N.C.) evened the game at 25 at the 7:03 mark, but then Emory & Henry scored 12 of the game’s next 15 points, much of it after Whitson went to the bench with his third foul at the 5:07 mark, to build a 37-28 advantage. JD Dyson (Yorktown, Va.) gave the Wasps their biggest lead with a jumper 2:56 before the break. The Brevard second-team rallied however, to close the gap to 39-34 at the break.
But while the opening half went Emory & Henry’s way. the second half belonged entirely to Michael Jones’ squad. The Wasps stretched the lead to seven with 19:14 remaining but the Tornados kicked in into high gear on back-to-back fast break lay-ups by Dellinger to narrow the gap to 43-41 at the 18:17 mark, and Carlisle gave Brevard a lead they would not relinquish, 47-45, with 16:42 remaining.
Whitson stretched the lead to double figures, 55-45, with a lay-up at the 13:34 point, and Joseph Chilton (Brasstown, N.C.) crossed the 20-point threshold with a trifecta at the 3:43 mark to mark the tally 82-63. A pair of freebies from Shane Galloway (Rosman, N.C.) gave Brevard its biggest lead, 87-63, with 2:02 to play.
Whitson and Dellinger paced Brevard’s offensive onslaught with 18 points a piece. Chilton added 15 points, and Whitmire also reached double figures with ten. Emory & Henry was led by Dyson and Camillo Weinz (Radford, Va.), both of whom poured in 13 points.
“I am very pleased with the way we competed tonight, especially in the second half,” Jones said after the game. “Dellinger’s play was especially good; we’ve been waiting on him to have a game like this and he did a great job running our offense and scoring on his own.”
Brevard’s 89 points is a season-high, and both Dellinger and Whitmire contributed their best offensive performances of the season. The Tornados shot 58.2% from the floor ad turned the ball over 25 times, although just seven of those giveaways came in the second half. The Wasps struggled from the field, hitting just 30% of their field goals.
Brevard advances to play either Marietta or Westminster Tuesday night in the championship game of the Marietta Shrine Tournament. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and air time on WSQL AM-1240 is 7:30 p.m. The Tornados will play the winner of the clash between the Pioneers and Titans, while the Wasps will play the loser for third place.