by Joshua Stevens
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets (8-9, 3-7 GMAC) lost a hard-fought game to the Hillsdale Chargers on Saturday evening, 82-72. This loss marks the third straight for the Yellow Jackets, while the Chargers get their second straight win after beating Ohio Valley on Thursday.
Senior guard Patrick Bain led the way for the Jackets with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Guards Kwenton Scott, Colton Linkous and Grant Zawadzki also put up double digits, but it was not enough to overcome the Chargers.
After a few tough defensive possessions on both sides to start the game, Hillsdale started to pull away from the Jackets with a 9-2 lead at the 16-minute mark.
The Chargers came out firing from 3-point range, with senior guard Stedman Lowry starting hot. He hit four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes, and had 24 points in the first half. The early shooting from deep put the Jackets in a quick 15-4 hole.
Bain and Evan Kraatz hit back-to-back threes later in the half to cut the Hillsdale lead to 10, but the Jackets still had trouble scoring.
Head coach Pat Estepp said after the game, “For whatever reason, we can’t get the ball to go in the hole early in a game.”
The early struggles on the offensive side of the ball and the rapid scoring from Hillsdale proved to be disastrous.
Cedarville tightened up its perimeter defense later in the first half, but Hillsdale was able to get some inside scoring.
Linkous scored five quick points and Scott made two free throws with two minutes left in the half to try to get a late run going. However, a wayward pass from full court found its way to Hillsdale, and they drained a shot at the buzzer to put them ahead 47-30.
The Jackets shot only 34.8 percent from the floor in the first half and gave up nine turnovers.
Patrick Bain came out and scored the first nine points of the second half for the Jackets. The Jackets also looked more energized on defense, with guys surrounding Lowry and preventing him from getting his shot up. The Chargers did not score until the 17:40 mark, which made the score 49-39.
Hillsdale continued to get inside scoring, and they built their lead back up to 15. The Chargers were able to keep a sizeable lead for much of the second half until Demond Parker hit a smooth jump shot from the top of the key to get within single digits with just over five minutes to play.
Junior forward Robert Okoro fouled out at the 4:13 mark. He was held to just one point in the contest.
Bain hit two free throws at 2:22 to cut the lead to eight. The Jackets then forced a shot clock violation on the Chargers, giving them some hope.
Kraatz hit a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left to cut the margin to six, but the Jackets were unable to finish the comeback, as Hillsdale made their free throws to finish off the Jackets with a final score of 82-72.
After the game coach Estepp still praised his players, while also saying he wants to see more from them.
“I’m proud of our guys for competing, but we have to find some consistency on our team.”
The Jackets travel to Painesville, Ohio to take on Lake Erie on Thursday as they hope to get back on track.
Joshua Stevens is a sophomore journalism major and sports writer for Cedars. He enjoys rooting for the Tennessee Titans and listening to old-school music.