Undying Lions edged by OLLU, 112-109
Homecourt advantage has its limits
SAGU ran out of time in a classic basketball game
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Saturday night’s classic Red River Athletic Conference semi-final basketball game was a cross between two film productions about trains; Unstoppable and a Streetcar Named Desire.
Top-seeded and #7 ranked Our Lady of the Lake University (26-6) and fourth-seeded and nationally-ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University (23-9) went full-throttle on a never-ending track. The outcome could have changed depending on the length of time allowed.
When the final buzzer sounded, it was OLLU who advanced to the championship game by outlasting the undying Lions, 112-109. The game featured eight ties and saw the lead change hands six times.
SAGU fought to the finish, reducing a 106-90 deficit to one, 110-109, on a basket by Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N.Texas, Waco HS) with twenty-two seconds left. After a pair of free throws by the Saints' Robert Martinez, SAGU needed a three-point basket to send the game into overtime.
Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian Academy) fired from the top of the key in the closing seconds. Though he was hit on the arm and hip by the guarding defender, like his shot, both went begging.
“I had a good look,” Feemster said of this attempted triple. “I was hit here and here,” he added, pointing to where contact was made, “though I still thought it was (going) in. We should’ve won.”
The 6’5 freshman guard wound up on the floor. Like many critical calls down the stretch, they didn’t favor the host team.
Played in front of a frenzied, near-packed Sheaffer Center, SAGU’s advantage did not include officiating.
In a classy exhibition by SAGU fans, they remained in the gym until the team exited the locker room. They gave the Lions a standing ovation and followed it with several cheers.
The Saints, now 26-6 and the nation’s highest-scoring team, will meet #14 ranked LSU-Shreveport (24-7) on Monday at 7:30pm. It will be the third meeting of the league’s top two teams. Each successfully defended their home court during the regular season.
Both have qualified for a berth in the NAIA’s national tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, March 14-20. The RRAC title game will be broadcast in HiDef by SAGU SPORTS Live.
SAGU plays in Denver on Wednesday
The Lions are scheduled to compete in the Central Regional of the National Christian College Athletic Association during March 7-9 in Denver. There are over 100 member schools in the NCCAA.
Colorado Christian University (NCAA Division II) is the host school. Their campus is located in Lakewood, the fifth largest (143,000 pop.) city in Colorado.
Dallas Baptist University (NCAA D2), the defending national champion, is the top seed at 15-13.
SAGU is seeded second. They could face Southwestern Christian University (Okla) in the opener. The Eagles are 11-15. The regional schedule will be posted here.
Eight central teams will vie for a berth at the NCCAA nationals, March 14-17, at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana.
A detailed review of the SAGU-OLLU game will be posted Sunday afternoon. It will include statistics, interviews and additional photos.