Marlins Drop ODAC Opener

The Virginia Wesleyan College Men’s Basketball team lost its Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opener to Emory and Henry College with a final score of 79-77. Taking rank 16, the Marlins could not connect on a last-second 3-pointer shot that would have won the game against the Wasps (4-1/1-0).

The loss snaps an 11-game win streak for the Marlins against the Wasps that dated back to the 2008-2009 season. It is also the first time Emory and Henry defeated the Marlins at The Fish Tank since the 1997-1998 season.

The Marlins’ struggles from the free-throw line continued during the game, shooting 16-24 from the charity stripe. The performance brings their season average to 65.9%. The team also shot 7-26 from three-point land, which makes its season average 31%, which is 4% lower than its season average from a season ago.

Despite the loss, Assistant Coach Quinn McDowell and the rest of the coaching staff continue to be impressed with sophomore guard Josh Williams, who scored a career-high 16 points in 20 minutes coming off the bench.

“Josh has been a great spark off the bench for us this year so far. As a coaching staff, we are always looking for guys that can come in and impact the game in a positive way. Josh has the ability to make shots and he’s given us another threat coming off the bench early in the season,” McDowell said.

The loss to Emory and Henry made it back-to-back losses after suffering a 60-68 set back to Salisbury University. The coaching staff was disappointed with the performance against E&H coming off the loss, but not all was negative. The team is taking the two-game skid as a learning experience.

“We didn’t feel like we responded the way champions need to respond after taking a tough loss. Salisbury and Emory and Henry were two good teams that used their physical style of play to attack us and impose their will on our style of game instead of the other way around. Our focus for the past week has been trying to get back to our identity as a team that is going to pressure other teams and use our athleticism to force turnovers and take them out of what they want to do,” McDowell said.

The Marlin Maniacs, VWC basketball’s fan section, has had a big presence at all home games and will not give up on the team despite the loss. The team has a lot of experience with seven seniors but also rosters 11 underclassmen. This mixture can lead to early season struggles but can turn quickly as the underclassmen get more comfortable.

“In Dave Macedo we trust. It is still early in the year, and I really like the effort and enthusiasm of the team so far. I am excited to see the boys play every home game. There are some tough games ahead, but they are all games that we can win, as the team says,” super fan Evan Hockensmith said.

Coach McDowell echoes the message of Hockensmith.

“We want our program to be the most consistent program in the country every year. We want to compete for championships every season, and this year is no different. Our team has the talent and ability to do some special things and we are working every day to achieve the consistency we need to make those dreams a reality,” McDowell said.

Senior Khory Moore led all scorers with 28 points while Allc Wynn lead the Wasps with 20 points. Williams added 16 points and was only one of three Marlins who scored off the bench. Kaelin Poe finished three rebounds shy of a double-double with 14 points. The rest of the Marlins scored 19 points.

The Marlins matched up with North Carolina Wesleyan in a non-conference matchup on Nov. 28. They brought home an 83-63 win over the Battling Bishops. Once again, Khory Moore led the Marlins in scoring with 23 points. Kaelin Poe led the team with 11 rebounds while Keijon Honore tallied the game high in assists with five. Adrian Moore led NC Wesleyan with 21 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

The Marlins headed out on the road to face Roanoke College this past weekend.  The Marlins bounced back in the ODAC standings by getting the win against the Maroons, by the final score of 71-63. The scoring was led by senior Tim Jones with 21 and sophomore Keijon Honore with 18.

Luke Chiasson

(Photo: Department of Sports Information | Courtesy)