St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy jumped out to an early seven-point lead over Fishburne Military School and led 46-45 at the half.
The difference in the second half of the Caissons’ 97-86 victory in the opener of the Virginia Military Postgrad Basketball Challenge was defense.
“We just made more plays defensively than they did down the stretch,” said FMS postgraduate coach Ed Huckaby.
A pair of early second-half threes by Devon Call gave Fishburne its first working margin of the night at 58-52 with 14:14 to go.
Another three, this one from Jackson Trapp (a Winthrop signee), made it 77-67 with 5:27 to go, and St. John’s would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Chris Bryant (a Florida Atlantic signee) led FMS with 24 points. Karl Ziegler added 15 points and Spencer Parker (a Bowling Green signee) had 14 for Fishburne.
Jeremiah Jones scored a game-high 27 points to lead St. John’s. Aaron Ross added 22 for the Lancers.
In the nightcap, Fork Union Military Academy came all the way back from an 11-point deficit to tie Massanutten Military Academy with a minute to go, but MMA pulled away late to post an 84-79 win.
A pair of threes by Xavier Holland and Ron Trapps capped an 11-2 FUMA run that tied the game at 79 with 1:21 to go. Corban Collins hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:03 left to break the tie. Kion Brown missed a fadeaway in the lane with 31 seconds left that would have tied the game, and Bryan Harris made two free throws with 19 seconds left to push the MMA lead to four.
Cam Jones blocked a Trapps shot in the lane with 14 seconds left and then made one of two free throws after being fouled on the rebound.
Brown led Fork Union with 22 points. Harris had 24 points and Collins added 22 for Massanutten.
On Saturday, Massanutten will face St. John’s at 6 p.m., with Fishburne and Fork Union closing out the Virginia Military Postgrad Basketball Challenge in an 8 p.m. tilt.