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Local pair commits to Redhawks
Hester to join baseball team, Bogan will play basketball.
Southeast Missouri State opened the spring signing period with a local feel Wednesday, with Southeast Missouri athletes inking letters of intent in men's basketball, baseball and women's basketball.
Bell City senior Will Bogan put his name on the dotted line in an afternoon ceremony at the high school. The 6-foot-10, 300-plus pound center had given the Redhawks an oral commitment during the high school basketball season.
"In recruiting I look for a lot of things you can't teach," Southeast Missouri State coach Scott Edgar said. "You can't teach his size, and to me, just as important, you can't teach instincts. He has tremendous instincts for the game of basketball. He can catch it, he can pass it and he can rebound his position."
Bogan led the Cubs to back-to-back runner-up finishes in Class 1 while averaging a double-double each season. This past season, Bogan averaged close to 25 points and 16 rebounds a game.
Edgar said there will be no set target playing weight for Bogan. He just wants him to work hard and play at the weight that makes him most successful.
"We're going to be patient, persistent and progressive, all three at the same time with his development," Edgar said. "I think he has outstanding potential."
Along with Bogan, the Redhawks are expected to sign at least two more players who have already given their verbal commitment. Junior college sophomores Kenard Moore and Jaycen Herring previously committed to Southeast.
Moore is a 5-11 guard out of Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College who averaged a team-high 17.8 points while hitting 214 3-pointers over the past two seasons.
Herring, a 6-5 wing player from Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College, averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists this past season.
The Redhawks baseball team has signed its second Central standout this academic year with the addition of center fielder Matt Hester. Hester signed Wednesday to join teammate Brad LaBruyere in the 2007 freshman class. LaBruyere signed with the Redhawks in the fall.
"It's a big relief," Hester said of the signing. "Playing up on the varsity since my freshman year, playing good ball since I was 15, I've always enjoyed playing and now playing collegiately I hope to play some good baseball for another four years."
Southeast was Hester's main choice. He also considered Mineral Area College. The coaching staff and tradition of the program helped persuade Hester.
"They've got a good coaching staff, and a lot of fans come, they have a good atmosphere," Hester said. "They've had a good record. Brad, he's going there, and me and Brad have been playing together since we were kids, so that worked out."
Hester hit .455 last year with 21 stolen bases and 27 runs scored en route to second-team all-state honors. This season Hester is hitting .357 with a team-high 16 runs scored as the leadoff hitter.
Several of Southeast's top position players this season are freshmen, a position Hester hopes to be in this time next year.
"That's definitely a goal," Hester said. "I'm going to work hard and hopefully get a starting position and be just as good as the freshmen this year."
Southeast women's basketball coach John Ishee made his first signing with the addition of Three Rivers Community College guard Tierra Johnson. Johnson, a 5-7 sophomore at TRCC, averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.2 steals for the Raiders this past season. A graduate of Poplar Bluff High School, Johnson will be reunited with former teammate Missy Whitney at Southeast.
"Tierra is a talented guard who can play multiple positions and she is a good shooter," Ishee said. "She is a good student-athlete that has the total package and she could make an immediate impact for us next season."
Johnson joins incoming freshmen Tori Fite and Lauren Sharpe in the recruiting class. Fite and Sharpe signed with the Redhawks in the fall. Another player, 6-1 forward Kaitlyn Peddie from Australia, is on campus this spring.
The Redhawks volleyball team got into the act Wednesday with the signing of three players. Kelly Benacka, Aubrey Dondlinger and Emily Hughes will join the Redhawks in the fall.
Benacka is an outside hitter/defensive specialist from Algonquin, Ill. She was honorable mention all-state this past season.
Dondlinger is an outside hitter out of Palos Heights, Ill. The junior college sophomore from Parkland College (Ill.) earned all-region 24 honors during her sophomore season.
Hughes was an all-state middle hitter at St. Benedict High School in Memphis, Tenn.