by Joshua Stevens
Cedarville shot 59 percent from the 3-point line and scored 47 bench points to get the win against Alderson Broaddus on Saturday, 87-77.
The win came on Senior Night, as the men’s basketball team said goodbye to Evan Kraatz, Sean Blackburn, and Patrick Bain, the team’s leading scorer who tore his ACL against Ohio Valley on January 27.
“For the seniors, I knew it was going to be emotional.” Kraatz said. “Especially for Pat. I know it killed him that he couldn’t play, and it killed as well.”
The Jackets gave Patrick and their fans something to cheer for. Joey Morlan scored 24 points off the bench, Kraatz had 14, and Grant Zawadzki added eight points and 10 assists as the Jackets (13-14, 8-12 G-MAC) close their season out with wins in their final two games.
The Jackets were put in a hole early, as the Battlers (18-10, 11-9 G-MAC) came out firing early. Battler guard Sam Sanders, who averages 5.8 points per game, hit six 3-pointers in the first half and had 26 points in the game. The Jackets struggled to find him in the first half, and even when they did, Sanders was able to make some shots with defenders in his face. The Jackets trailed by as many as nine in the first half.
As the first half winded down, the Jackets were able to make a run. Morlan’s shooting kept the Jackets in it, hitting five 3-pointers in the first half. The Jackets closed out the half on an 18-4 run and took the 44-39 lead into the locker room.
“We played a little looser tonight,” head coach Pat Estepp said. “Joey shot tremendously and our bench was really good.”
The Jackets never trailed in the second half, and built their lead to as many as 11. They continued to shoot well from deep, and the Battlers were never able to close the gap. A contested shot off the backboard for Zawadzki with just over a minute left ensured a comeback would not happen.
“We played unselfish. We competed.” Kraatz said. “It was nice to end the year like that.”
While the season did not go as planned, the Jackets gave themselves and their fans something to be excited about next season. Several key players return next season for the Jackets, as they look to improve and continue to build chemistry together.
“At the end of the day, if you’ve got young men that are learning how to fight and persevere and not quit, then that’s rewarding.” Estepp said. “God was gracious to give us a couple wins to end the season.”
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.