Agonizing defeat ends chance to repeat

Reddies eliminate in conference semis by Boll Weevils

Reddies+fall+at+UAM%2C+ending+their+hopes+of+becoming+repeat+conference+champs.

Reddie Athletics

Reddies fall at UAM, ending their hopes of becoming repeat conference champs.

Donovan Lee, Sports Editor / HTV Station Manager

BETHANY, OK– The defending GAC champs had a different start to their tournament run this season. After getting back on track to finish the regular season, Henderson State (11-8, 9-8 GAC) tied up the third-seed spot in the postseason. 

By defeating the Bisons and the Crimson Storm in the first round and quarterfinals, respectively, the Reddies were pitted against their most difficult competition of the 2021 season: the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils (14-4, 12-4 GAC). UAM had HSU’s number during the regular season, winning all four contests against the Arkadelphia competitors.

The semifinal matchup began with rapid fire from the Reddies, producing a 9-0 run to begin the game. Shots started sinking for the Weevils as the first half progressed. Henderson’s largest lead was as big as its early-game scoring run. By the end of the first half, UAM got their deficit down to a single point, trailing 31-30 at the intermission.

All-GAC selection and HSU senior forward Raekwon Rogers came out of the locker room and recorded his 1,000th career point. Rogers finished the contest with 25 points and 14 rebounds. On the opposing roster, Rogers seemed to be going head-to-head with UAM’s DaJuan Jones, who came through when it mattered most for the Weevils.

The Boll Weevils received a surge of energy in the second half, staying in close proximity to HSU, only trailing by as many as four at 54-50 and exchanging leads with the Reddies throughout the second twenty minutes.

The presumed highlight of the game for HSU was from senior guard Xavier Davenport, who scored the bucket to give the Reddies a two-point lead in the final seconds of regulation. The 64-62 lead would last but for a moment, thanks to UAM’s Jones who laid in the ball on a drive to the paint as the seconds ticked off the clock. His bucket sent the game into overtime, tied at 64.

An extra five minutes of action was not what the defending champs were hoping for, but in order to advance, it was deemed necessary to decide who would appear in the 2021 edition of the conference title game. The overtime period was owned by Jones, resulting in the shattered dreams of a possible title repeat by Henderson. The Weevils defeated the Reddies, 80-70, ending the season for the visitors from Arkadelphia.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Raekwon Rogers was announced as a GAC All-Tournament team member, averaging almost 19 points and seven rebounds.