(March 2, 2015)
Gents end first official DIII season with exciting SCAC tournament in Dallas
SHREVEPORT, LA — It was a weekend of cheers and tears for the Centenary family during the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships as the Gents won a thriller against Southwestern University in a Saturday semifinal, before falling 80-75 to Texas Lutheran in the championship game at the University of Dallas.
First-year James Sapp led the Gents with 28 points and nine rebounds in the 87-80 victory over Southwestern, marking the 22nd time this season the sophomore has scored in double figures and the nine with 20-plus points this season.
Students en route to the University of Dallas for the SCAC Championships on the spirit bus
Maroon and White fans were lauded as being "nearly a home game crowd" by SCAC's live webcast commentators. This impressive cheering section was partly made possible by the Spirit Bus that transported nearly 40 students from Shreveport to Dallas the day of the game—an initiative spearheaded by student Erick Norem '16 who worked closely with the Centenary Student Government Association to secure funding for a charter bus.
"We wanted to build on the students' enthusiastic support for the team until the very end," said Norem. "The bus gave us that opportunity to bring a great group of students to the game for the SCAC Tournament. I was proud that SGA voted in favor of my resolution and helped make this dream to support the team to the end a reality."
Centenary's lacrosse team also offered their passionate support as the entire team was in metroplex preparing for a match against the University of Dallas on Sunday afternoon. Several faculty, staff, and Dallas-area alumni also turned out to support the Gents throughout the weekend.
The Gents closed the contest on an 11-5 run to capture the victory. They finished the night shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 73.7 percent from the charity stripe. Southwestern connected on half its shots from the floor and was 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Gents take the court for the semifinal game against Southwestern
On Sunday, students loaded back on the bus to watch the concluding game of the championship against top-seeded Texas Lutheran University.
In a game that featured 14 ties, 10 lead changes, and each team posting four players in double figures scoring, the Bulldogs were able to hold off the Gents to capture the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, the Gents did not go home empty handed. This is Centenary's first regular season title since the 1989-90 season in the former Trans-Atlantic Athletic Conference, now the Atlantic Sun. Centenary's James Sapp and Travion Kirkendoll headline the All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Team selections for the Gents' basketball team. Sapp was named SCAC Player of the Year while Kirkendoll was named Co-Newcomer of the Year.
Sapp is the third straight Gent to nab Player of the Year laurels following Jonathan Blount, who received the honor the past two seasons. Kirkendoll became the third consecutive Newcomer of the Year for the Maroon and White as Brett Bell and Kendall Demouchet claimed the previous two accolades.
The duo was named first team All-SCAC while Demouchet was named second team all-conference. Caden Cheramie along with Brandon Campbell received honorable mention nods.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were on fire with support for the Gents and their impressive season
Centenary boasts two of the top five scorers in the conference and the league's second leading rebounder. James Sapp, who is second in the conference in rebounds with 8.1 per outing, leads the league in scoring with 16.4 points per game. He was named the SCAC Player of the Week five times—the most in school history. Kendall Demouchet averaged 12.8 points on the season and sits atop the conference in blocks with 1.7 per affair. He is second in field goal percentages with 53.4 and ranks third in program history in blocks with 99—just 13 away from the record held by Willie Jackson and Eric Bonner in the 80s.
Joining Sapp and Demouchet among the scoring leaders in the conference is Travion Kirkendoll. The Campti, Louisiana, native averaged 12.5 points on the campaign, the most of any freshman in the conference. Kirkendoll ranks eighth in conference scoring and sixth in steals behind fellow Gents Demouchet, who sits atop the list with 1.5, and senior Caden Cheramie, who ranks third. Cheramie concludes his career ranked 9th in program history in steals with 144.