Tornado basketball prepares for Marietta Shrine Tournament

Following a 23-day layoff to observe the Christmas holiday, the Brevard College men's basketball team will resume the 2008-09 season at the 38th Annual Marietta Shrine Tournament, hosted December 29 and 30 by Marietta College. Fans who can't make the trip to Marietta, Ohio can follow all of the action on BCTornados.com.

The Tornados will face the Emory & Henry College Wasps in the tournament's opening game, Monday, December 29 at 6 p.m. Following the conclusion of the opener, the host Marietta College Pioneers will square off with the Westminster College Titans at approximately 8 p.m. The Tournament will conclude on Tuesday, December 30, as the previous day's losers will play at 6 p.m. and the winners will face off for the championship at approximately 8 p.m.

This is the first time Brevard College has ever played in the Marietta Shrine Tournament. Brevard has never played Emory & Henry, Marietta or Westminster. The Tornados are 4-2 (0-1 South Atlantic Conference) following their last game, a 65-48 defeat to SAC rival Tusculum.

Both Brevard games will be broadcast live on WSQL AM-1240 in Brevard and around the world at www.wsqlradio.com. Rob Walden, the Voice of the Tornados, will handle play-by-play for both games, with the pregame show starting 30 minutes before tip-off on both Monday and Tuesday. Marietta will also offer a live broadcast of their game against Westminster, which can be accessed by clicking here. Live statistics for all four games of the tournament can be found here. Fans can learn more about the 38th Annual Marietta Shrine Tournament and the history of the tournament at its official website, which will be available as the tournament draws closer.

The Wasps, coached by Paul Russo, come into the tournament sporting a 5-4 (0-2 Old Dominion Athletic Conference) record. Emory & Henry fell to Randolph Macon in their last game, 111-92, on December 6. The up-tempo squad averages 91.8 points per game, which comes in sharp contrast to the 61.2 ppg averaged by Coach Michael Jones' squad. Emory & Henry boasts five players who average double figures, including swingman Robert Hudson, who leads the way with 15.3 ppg, and forward Kyle Huckins, whose 13.6 ppg comes by making an impressive 67.9% of his field goal attempts. 

Coach John VanderWal leads the Pioneers into the tournament with a 4-5 (1-3 Ohio Athletic Conference) record. Marietta snapped a three-game losing skid with a 70-69 squeaker over OAC foe Heidelberg on December 20. Trevor Halter leads the Pioneers with 13.2 ppg and has made 35.9% of his three-point field goal attempts.

Larry Ondako's Westminster squad comes in with a 1-9 (1-1 President's Athletic Conference) mark, but the Titans have momentum after grabbing their first win of the season on December 20, a 92-80 win over Thomas More. Forward Ryne Murray has put the Titans on his back so far, averaging 20.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 2.5 apg through ten contests, all best on the team.

Brevard has already matched their win total from a season ago through just six games. Junior forward Jonathan Whitson has been a beast for Brevard so far, averaging 17.8 ppg and 10.0 rpg, both best on the team. Reserve forward Sam Carlisle is second to Whitson in scoring, chipping in 8.5 ppg, while senior Joseph Chilton is second in rebounding, pulling down 6.5 rpg.

As a team Brevard has dominated the glass, outrebounding their opponents by more than a dozen bards per game. The Tornados will look to shoot better to spark momentum not only for the Marietta tournament but also for the grueling SAC season ahead; Brevard has connected on just 27.4% of their trifectas through the first half dozen contests.

The 413-mile sojourn from Brevard to Marietta is the longest road trip for Jones & Co. since joining NCAA Division II in 2006-07. The two games in Ohio are the only contests of the season for Brevard against NCAA Division III competition; all three foes at the tournament are members of the NCAA's non-scholarship classification.

38th Annual Marietta Shrine Tournament
Marietta, Ohio - hosted by Marietta College
Monday, December 29
Brevard vs. Emory & Henry, 6 p.m.
Westminster vs. Marietta, approx. 8 p.m.
Tuesday, December 30
Consolation Game, 6 p.m.
Championship Game, approx. 8 p.m.
Tournament Central - LiveStats - Brevard Radio - Marietta Radio

Emory & Henry College Wasps
5-4 (0-2 ODAC)
Website - Roster - Schedule/Results - Statistics

Marietta College Pioneers
4-5 (1-3 OAC)
Website - Roster - Schedule/Results - Statistics

Westminster College Titans
1-9 (1-1 PAC)
Website - Roster - Schedule/Results - Statistics

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