Brevard gets by Buffaloes

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR Correspondent

   The Brevard Tornadoes hung on in the final minutes to outduel Milligan by the final of 66-57 on Saturday at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, where the Buffs played their home finale.
   "Milligan is really a great team, and I know their disappointed with the overall record, but I was concerned about coming here and them playing us tough," said Brevard coach Michael Jones.
   The first points of the game came from Paul Wiedeman on a three-point shot to give the Tornadoes the early lead.
   The Buffaloes struck back with Lance Ashby following his missed shot for the put back, as he ended his career as third on the all-time score list, finishing with ten points on the night.
   Brevard managed to hold the lead until a three-point shot from Ashby tied the contest with 6:25 left in the half.
   After a stoppage on defense, Milligan grabbed their first lead with a bucket down-low from James Howard.
   The Tornadoes were able to reassume control when Wil Gibbs received a pass from Wiedeman to draw the foul.
   Brevard found themselves up at the break by the score of 26-21, with the Buffaloes hanging tough against the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season champs.
   To begin the second half, Milligan came out of the blocks with a slow start, allowing Brevard to rattle off the first seven scores.
   The Buffaloes had fallen behind by 12 with the score of 33-21, forcing Milligan to call time-out to regroup.
   The margin remained for the next five minutes, until senior guard A. J. Hamler started finding his range.
   Knocking down back to back treys, along with a drive to the basket and foul, pulled the Buffaloes within three with 9:18 left.
   Hamler finished the night as the game's high scorer with 17, ending his regular season career at Milligan on a high note.
   "I've had a great four years here, and I just hate it had to end up like this tonight," said Hamler.
   The inside play of the Tornadoes started taking its toll on the Buffaloes down the stretch.
   Everytime Milligan made a run, Brevard came right back to execute with a bucket down-low.
   "We fought hard the whole way, and everytime we made a run it seemed like our defense collapsed, or we'd make a dumb offensive mistake," said Hamler.
   The Tornadoes pushed their lead back to 11 with over six minutes left, but the Buffaloes were not willing to give up.
   A steal from Ray Richmond with the lay-up cut the Milligan deficit back down to three.
   "We showed a lot of heart tonight, and I think I can show them that we can come into the tournament and make some noise," said Milligan coach Tony Wallingford.
   Trailing 57-53 with a minute and a half left, Brevard's David Evans came up with a huge offensive board to help seal the game.
   Evans led the Tornadoes in scoring with 15 points, along with Kevin Cook, who also finished with 15 and nine rebounds.
   "We didn't match up athletically with them, and when you play solid defense, you can't afford to miss blocking out assignments," said Wallingford.