In the eye of the ‘Storm’

SNU no match for defending champs, Reddies advance to quarterfinals

Teuana Smith, Sports Reporter

In a quest to extend their reign as GAC Champions, Henderson State (11-8, 9-8 GAC) entered the quarterfinal round of the 2021 conference tournament to face the Crimson Storm of Southern Nazarene (11-8, 11-7 GAC). The challenge that both teams faced this time around was that they did not meet during the regular season since the GAC was split into East and West divisions where teams only played divisional opponents all season.

Both teams struggled getting their feet on the ground for the first two minutes before senior forward Raekwon Rogers made a lay up. HSU went toe-to-toe with SNU and were forced to play catch up twice early on. They managed to tie up the game three times through the last 1:37 seconds of the first half. The teams toggled possessions with the ball, attempting to get the advantage when Henderson finally caught a break in the last minute with a secure dunk and layup by Rogers giving them a one-point lead at 29-28. 

The Reddies stepped out on a good foot, putting SNU at a six-point deficit two minutes into the second half (34-28). SNU caught up with a 17-6 run and applied defensive pressure that kept us from scoring as efficiently (43-40). Henderson was struggling offensively keeping the ball in hand and making shots. They found themselves nine points away from a chance to win going into the last six minutes. 

Despite it all, Henderson “weathered the storm” and fought back, crushing their deficit down to 55-54 at the 1:49 mark. Malik Riddle effortlessly connected on a three-pointer, breaking the shooting funk they were caught in. Quawn Marshall turned up a notch, dominating in the last minute of the game, scoring the Reddies’ final six points to secure Henderson’s spot in the semi-finals. 

Henderson has ended #2 Southern Nazarene’s season in a close win, 60-57. Raekwon Rogers led the night with 23 points. Quawn Marshall raked in 15 points and Malik Riddle threw in 9 points with 11 rebounds. 

Now riding a two-game winning streak, Henderson will face #1 UA-Monticello on Friday at 7:30 in the GAC Tournament Semi-Finals. In their regular season series, the Weevils defeated the Reddies in all four meetings.