SAND ROCK – Faulkner University girls basketball coach Reed Sutton has been scouting Sand Rock senior shooting guard Lanie Henderson for a while now. He said Henderson is a clone to one of his former players, Kayla Tillman from Good Hope.
“She’s a red head, 5-10, deep shooter, who led us to a national tournament her senior year,” Sutton said of Tillman. “It’s really kind of weird with Lanie. We saw her at camp and I was like ‘Man she reminds me of KT.’
“My assistant at the time was like ‘Yeah, we need to keep our eye on her a little bit.’ I think he saw her a little further when he came up here to watch somebody else. He called me back and was like ‘Coach, we’ve got to really keep our eye on her. I think she fits our style.’”
And the rest is history.
On Tuesday, Henderson inked a basketball scholarship with Faulkner. Through four games this season, Henderson has 1,612 points and 856 rebounds for her Sand Rock career, which also includes a Class 2A state runner-up and numerous other county, area and regional titles.
The feeling Sutton had for Henderson was mutual for her with Faulkner.
“I just stepped foot on the campus and fell in love with it,” she said. “I love the kind of people who are down there, and I love the atmosphere. I’m definitely sad to leave Sand Rock because I love it here, but I feel like I’ll pick up where I left off at Faulkner. I feel like it’s going to be a really good experience.”
Henderson’s high school coach, Lisa Bates, thinks so as well.
“I’m excited she’s going somewhere I feel she’s going to play and make a difference and be happy where she is,” Bates said. “They’re going to take care of her. I feel very confident and at peace we’ve got the right fit.”
Bates describes Henderson as a hard worker for her since she first came up from the sixth grade.
“That’s been her goal since she came from the sixth grade building. It was ‘I want to play college ball,’” Bates recalls. “She put in the work, and I’m glad it’s paying off for her. She’s meant a lot to our program. I don’t even want to think about playing without her next year. She puts in the extra, and everybody knows it takes extra work. She’s traveled all over playing travel ball. She really deserves this.
“I get to see what all happens behind the scenes when she’s working so hard and coming to the gym when nobody else is here. That kind of thing, you like to see that pay off.”
Henderson said she’s glad her hard work has now paid off.
“These last two or three years, I’ve been more motivated than ever. It’s definitely a dream I’ve had,” she said. “It was definitely a lot of hard work put in, hours in the gym and traveling, but overall, it was so worth it. It just feels right.”