Emory & Henry entered the tournament as the hottest team in the ODAC, having won seven straight, including a win over eventual ODAC champion Guilford, 65-60.
After a first round bye, E&H would first play Roanoke in the quarterfinals, the last team to have beaten E&H before their seven game win streak. The Wasps would take care of them with ease, 81-62.
E&H would then play Washington & Lee in the semifinals, a squad they have recently struggled against, having won only 2 of their last 10 against W&L. E&H trailed by as much as 12, thanks in part to a 20-8 run by the Generals.
A huge 23-8 run by E&H in the second half gave the Wasps a 53-44 lead with 13:12 remaining in the second half. The Wasps didn’t look back, as they held onto the lead and squeaked by the Generals, 69-67.
It was the first time in five attempts that the Wasps have beaten the Generals in postseason play and moved on to the team’s sixth appearance in the ODAC Championship. The win also gave E&H back to back seasons with multiple wins in the ODAC Tournament for the first time since the early 90’s.
E&H would play Guilford in the championship game, after the Quakers came back from a 16 point deficit against Virginia Wesleyan in the other semifinal game.
E&H got off to a fast start, as they took a quick 5-0 lead early in the first half. However, Guilford would respond with an 11-0 run against the Wasps to take a 11-5 lead with just over 15 minutes to go. The Wasps would end a cold streak of shooting to go on a 10-0 run and take a 25-24 lead thanks in part to junior John Shelor’s back to back three pointer and sophomore Cliff Conley’s three that put the Wasps ahead 25-24.
The half would end with both teams tied at 29 apiece.
The second half wasn’t too kind to the Wasps as the shots weren’t falling for the majority of the second half. With Guilford up 47-39 with less than nine minutes to go, senior Myles Turner stepped up and scored 10 of the Wasps 12 points that cut the lead to six with over 90 seconds left.
E&H wouldn’t be able to catch up, as Guilford would make five of its last eight free throw to put the game and the Wasps first ever ODAC championship, out of reach 64-54.
The Wasps season officially came to an end on Sunday, Feb. 26, as the selection committee left them out of the tournament. The Wasps will say goodbye to three seniors, Myles Turner, Ryan Gravley, and Brandon Self. All three have played a major part in bringing the Men’s program back. However, the offseason just started for sophomore Andrew Davis. “As soon as the bus came back I was already in the gym and weight room trying to get better. The offseason starts now.” Davis is also very optimistic about next year, saying, “This is just the beginning, we’re only going to get better, we’ll be back.”
The Wasps end their season with a final record of 20-8 (12-4, ODAC). E&H also finished the season as the number 5 team in the South Reigon. E&H will look to recruit players to fill in the holes that are now open on this team.
– Will Seidel