Wasps Win ODAC Championship

Andrew McClung, Sports Editor • ajmcclung@ehc.edu

For the first time in school history, the Emory & Henry men’s basketball team won the Old Dominion Conference Championship. It was a win that has been a long time coming for the Wasps.

In the tournament the Wasps had to face three tough opponents. The first team that the Wasps faced in the quarterfinals was the 12 seeded Randolph Wildcats.

Randolph had to pull off the upset against the five seeded Virginia Wesleyan Marlins on Monday February 19. The Wasps ended up defeating Randolph by the final score of 82-69, advancing to the ODAC semifinals. Junior Alic Wynn led the way for the Wasps with 20 points and 16 rebounds, recording the double-double. Senior Chase Branscomb also had a double-double, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The semifinals matched up the Wasps against the nine seed Eastern Mennonite, who had upset the one seed Randolph-Macon College in the quarterfinals. E&H started the game, up 25-5, but the Wasps faced injury problems, allowing EMU to climb back into the game. Senior guard John Shelor received an elbow to the face, which broke Shelor’s nose.

Shelor was immediately taken to the hospital, taking him out of the rest of the game. Midway through the game, the Wasps had a double digit lead, and that was when sophomore guard/forward Daniel Spencer would go down with an ankle sprain. With two of their stars down, the Wasps had to play conservative, and EMU started to fight back. With less than one minute left EMU took their first lead of the game, by one point.

However E&H would persevere and take the lead back, and hold onto it until the end. The win for the Wasps advanced them to the ODAC championship for their second straight year, where the Wasps would face Roanoke College.

In the victory against EMU, again Branscomb had another great game. Branscomb put up 18 points, pulled down seven boards, and had two blocks. Freshman Tharon Suggs also played a crucial role in the victory, scoring 18 points and recording six rebounds.

Finally it all came down to Sunday’s championship game, where the Wasps faced the Maroons. It was a back and forth game with both teams having the lead at different times in the game. However the game came down to the last four minutes. E&H was up 68-57, seeming that Wasps had the game out of reach. What happened next was that the Maroons went on a 13-0 run, and took the lead 70-68, with 50 seconds remaining in the game. The Wasps had one final chance with less than 35 seconds to go. Chase Branscomb missed a jumper, but Alic Wynn was there to get the rebound and he passed it to Colin Molden, who would drain the three pointer to put the Wasps ahead. E&H would go on to win the game and championship by the final score of 72-70.

Branscomb was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, scoring 29 points in the championship game. Shelor, who had broken his nose the night before, played with a face mask and scored 24 points, and was named to the all-tournament team. Alic Wynn also made the all-tournament team, after racking up 14 rebounds.

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