Cedarville’s women’s basketball team won their first home game of the 2013-2014 season over Bellarmine University in a match that went into overtime.
The first ten minutes of the game were closely contested, but the visiting Knights began to pull away, taking a 9-point lead into the half.
The beginning of second half was not much different as the Knights continued to hit key shots and make easy buckets on the interior of the Jacket defense. With eight minutes remaining, the Jackets began to come back behind the leadership of senior guard Kayla Jenerette after being down as many as 14 points.
“We couldn’t get our composure,” coach Kirk Martin said. “We struggled the whole entire game, and then all of a sudden we started to get some transition. They wanted to put forth effort the whole game, but they struggled with that until over the last eight minutes when they started seeing success, and the crowd jumped on their back and carried them through.”
The Bellarmine lead had been cut to one point with 1:26 remaining in the game. The Jackets failed to connect offensively, and the Knights drained a critical jumper with 29 seconds left to take a three-point lead.
With 24 seconds left, Raegan Ryan made her first free throw, and after missing her second, Deborah Gordon snagged the offensive rebound and put in the layup to tie the game at 71. The Knights missed their attempt at a buzzer beater, and the first game of the home season headed to overtime.
The overtime period went back and forth as the teams traded baskets. They remained tied into the final minute of the overtime period until Ryan gave the Jackets a two-point lead with a critical steal and easy lay-in. Lauryn Robinson made two free throws to give the Jackets a four-point lead, but the lead was cut to one point after Bellarmine nailed a deep three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.
Ryan made both free throws to put Cedarville back on top by three points. Then after the Jackets conceded an easy layup, Jenerette made both free throws.
Bellarmine would not give up, though, as they closed the lead to one on a tough shot from the left block. Jenerette went back to the line and made both once again to regain the three-point advantage. That was all the Jackets needed, winning the game by a final score of 87-84.
Four Jackets scored in the double digits: Kayla Jenerette leading with 23, Deborah Gordon and Raegan Ryan with 16, and Kayla Linkous with 15 points. The Jackets went 28-35 from the free throw line in a game where they needed every point to make the comeback and seal the victory.
“From the bottom of my heart, we struggle getting our student body to our games, and they came tonight and they got loud…,” Coach Martin said. “I give a lot of credit to our student body for helping us out. I think that was a big, big deal.”
Cedarville moves to 1-1 on the season and will host Ohio Dominican on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the Callan Athletic Center.
Paul McMichael is a junior preseminary Bible major and a sports reporter for Cedars.