June 26, 2022

Creek Wood looked across the court at an all too familiar opponent on Tuesday night.

Portland was once again on the docket for the Red Hawks and for a third, and final time, they could not come up victorious.

A 43-42 heartbreaking, and season-ending, loss after a game in which Creek Wood led for all but a minute or two of non-consecutive time.

Portland just seemed to come up with the right plays at the right times, as well as saw non-conventional sources step up.

For instance, Montaize Bradley is probably the third scoring option for the Panthers.

That being said, Bradley was the hero Tuesday night.

He nailed a shot from halfcourt to end the half.

That ended up being vital because it made the half-court lead three instead of six for the Red Hawks.

He then ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating lay-up that would cut the deficit for them from three to one.

Two key shots that kept the Panthers squarely within striking distance.

Portland also saw Caeson Utley step up for twelve points when it became clear that Duncan Smallwood, was going to be schemed out of this game by Creel Wood defensively.

On the other hand, for the Red Hawks, neither of these instances was the case.

Jamison Ford had twenty-three points, no one else has more than six.

That is unacceptable for a team that has had games where three, four, or five guys eclipse double figures.

They also struggled to get shots when they needed them.

Down the stretch and really throughout the game, Creek Wood missed easy opportunities at the rim.

Ultimately, however, it came down to the final play.

Somehow, even after an abysmal fourth quarter, the Red Hawks had a chance with 4.5 seconds down one.

Anyone who knows the sport knows in that situation you get to the bucket. Period.

What did the Red Hawks do?

Throw up a contested, 28 plus foot three-pointer, from Jace Herrell.

I want to give Herrell credit. The shot almost went in, and he has had clutch moments throughout the year.

However, he had taken maybe three or four shots all game and managed only two points.

If, you feel that you want to take the three, find the hot hand, or even a guy who had made one already in the game.

Everything is final now and we have to begin discussing what is next.

This team loses three starters, two of which are more replaceable than others, but still, that is a lot to lose.

They also lose a key bench player.

Braden Dawson, Tanner Lampley, Bryson Harding, and Jace Herrell were all seniors.

Again, the majority project to already have their successors in place.

Carter Thomason replaces Dawson, Lampley hands the reins to Eli Edmondson or Reiken Howard, and Harding is replaced by Alex Bradshaw.

Herrell is another beast entirely.

Sure, Jamison Ford can bring the ball up, Howard or Bradshaw can facilitate the offense in terms of calls, and Clint Morgan can fill in assisting and scoring the basketball.

That is the issue though.

It will take two or three guys to replace Herrell.

That will be the biggest question, is PG next season.

For now it, for the second straight year, comes down to the Lady Red Hawks in Dickson County.

They are the sole team left and will play Wednesday for a region title, and Saturday in a sub-state game for a chance to go to Murfreesboro for a second consecutive season.

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