No. 19 Virginia Wesleyan pins first loss of season on Apprentice

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VIRGINIA BEACH -- What started as an intense, emotion-fed showdown at break-neck speed eventually developed into a composed, well-played men's basketball game between a pair of Hampton Roads rivals.

No. 19 Virginia Wesleyan College emerged with the Sunday win, knocking down timely three-pointers and grabbing key rebounds in the second half to help post an 87-68 victory over previously undefeated Apprentice School in the championship game of the 2014 Marlin Tip-Off Tournament at the Jane P. Batten Student Center.

After playing at an exhaustive pace through most of the first half, Virginia Wesleyan (2-0) took charger in the final four minutes to open up a 38-30 halftime lead. took  There were three ties and eight lead changes in the half, with VWC jumping in front 30-27 on a triple by sophomore Khory Moore (Arlington/Wakefield).  He also nailed a three-pointer in the closing seconds to help the Marlins to the eight-point spread at the break.

Virginia Wesleyan never lost the lead after that, as the Marlins found the open players to record the points needed to pull away from the very athletic Builders (3-1).  Senior Greg Montgomery (Virginia Beach/Princess Anne), who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, scored VWC's first six points of the second half to offset an attempted Apprentice comeback led by Johnnie Ferebee and Jamal Curry.

An electrifying dunk by Moore off an assist from sophomore Tim Jones (Richmond/Henrico), followed by a Jones three-pointer opened up a 48-38 lead for VWCLavonte Thomas and Lance Darden came through for scores for the Builders, but Virginia Wesleyan answered with the scoring of Nick Doyle (Franklin/Southampton), Cameron Owens (Centreville/Centreville), Montgomery, and Jones to extend the lead.

Montgomery turned in one of the most balanced efforts of his career, posting 19 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. His 14 boards topped his previous career-high number of 11 recorded last season against North Carolina Wesleyan College.  The slick-moving guard hit 6-of-13 field goals and 7-of-10 free throws for his final numbers.

Moore topped scoring for the Marlins with 22 points, helped by a game-high four triples.  Owens finished with 16 points and Jones added 12.  Owens hit an assortment of shots, knocking down 5-of-9 overall, including three from long-range. 

Ferebee finished with 26 points for the Builders, hitting 9-of-21 shots overall.  Thomas added 12 points for Apprentice and Jay Melendez scored 10.  Melendez and Curry paced Apprentice on the backboards with eight rebounds each.

Melendez and Thomas were both named to the all-tournament team, as was Moore for the Marlins. Delaware Valley College's Manny Ochenje and the College of New Jersey's Jayson Johnson were also named to the squad.

New Jersey used a strong first half to help post a 67-57 win over Delaware Valley in Sunday's consolation game. Erick Klacik led the Lions with 17 points, Skyelar Ettin added 16 and Johnson tallied 12.  Bobby Brackett pulled down 15 rebounds. Chris Moran led DVC with 13 points and 12 rebounds.