Bast Gym erupted at the end of the Roanoke-Virginia Wesleyan basketball game on Saturday, February 15th. Students cheered and applauded the men’s team when the buzzer set the final score to 85-79 in favor of Roanoke.
The final cheers were not the first sounds heard in Bast on Saturday, however. The gymnasium was filled with sounds of excitement from the regionally-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College basketball team. A half hour before game time, the visiting Marlins were having their own personal slam dunk contest, trying trick shots and hollering whenever a player successfully dunked. Most fans in the gym were paying attention to Virginia Wesleyan while the Maroons quietly warmed up on the other side of the court with their typical layup and jump shot drills.
When game time finally came, the Marlins came to the court comfortable and confident that they’d pick up an easy win, while the Maroons came determined to take the energy back in their home court. Julian Ramirez started the Maroons off with an easy layup to take the first points of the game. The Maroons’ style of warm up proved to be beneficial as their first 12 points all came from layups. At the 13:51 mark, Cameron Smith scored the first points for the Maroons that weren’t layups when he sank both of his free throws to give Roanoke a 14 â€“ 8 lead on Virginia Wesleyan.
Following Cameron Smith’s free throws, the Marlins made two layups in a row to come within 2 points of the Maroons, but Roanoke refused to let the Marlins steal their lead. The Maroons finished up the remaining 10 minutes of the half, increasing their lead over the overconfident Marlins. After dominating the first half, the two teams left for their locker rooms with Roanoke leading Virginia Wesleyan 38 â€“ 30.
The second half started with the Maroons picking up where they left off, scoring over their opponents. Virginia Wesleyan tried to battle back, but the Maroons refused to give up the lead. Roanoke led by as many as 17 points with 6:26 remaining in the game. The most exciting moment for the Marlins came with 4:25 left in the game, when Colby Heard put his warm up practice to use by making the only dunk of the game. But the Maroons scored more points than the Marlins, making the final score of the game 84 â€“ 79 in favor of the Maroons.
Andrew Daniels led the Maroons with 22 points followed by Daniel Eacho (18), Julian Ramirez (13) and John Fitchett (10). Julian Ramirez led the Maroons in rebounds by pulling down 13 of the team’s total 41 rebounds.
The Maroons play the final game of their regular season Saturday, February 22nd when they host Hampden-Sydney College. The game is set to begin at 2:00 pm in Bast Gym.