by Abigail Hintz
“What a dogfight.”
That’s how head coach Kari Hoffman described Saturday afternoon’s battle between Cedarville and Findlay that ended 74-70 in favor of the Jackets. The result was the Oilers’ first loss of the season, and puts Cedarville (5-1, 2-0 G-MAC) at first place in the G-MAC standings. The Jackets are now riding a five-game unbeaten streak.
Senior guard Baylee Bennett reached a season high 5-11 in 3-pointers, ending the game with 17 points. Junior forward Cameron Peek and senior guard Regina Hochstetler added 12 points a piece.
Overall, the Jackets bested the Oilers from behind the arc, putting up 11-24 compared to Findlay’s 7-15. There were five lead changes throughout the contest, but Cedarville never trailed Findlay at the end of a quarter. Despite this immense pressure, the Jackets only gave up six turnovers, something Hoffman was very pleased with.
“To actually turn them over and score in return, I think that was absolutely huge,” Hoffman said.
Findlay came out hot, scoring seven points in the first minute and a half of play. The Jackets began to show some intensity before the first timeout of the matchup after Bennett put down her first 3-pointer of the game, putting the Jackets within four of the Oilers at 9-5.
Sophomore guard Stevie Johnting took two back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game at 11, but the Oilers continued to stay slightly ahead. Bennett gave the Jackets their first lead, 16-13, with a huge 3-pointer at the tail end of the shot clock. The Jackets kept the lead the rest of the first quarter, which ended 22-19.
The second quarter picked up where the first left off, with the Jackets keeping the lead at 28-22 heading into the first media timeout. Both teams were shooting less than in the first quarter, but the intensity was higher than ever. The Jackets were the first to 30 with a little less than six minutes left in the quarter. Hochstetler drained a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds to play in the half, giving Cedarville the lead heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the locker room, the Oilers took back the lead quickly, only to be countered by Cedarville’s offense who put themselves ahead again 38-37. Findlay again took back the lead at 42-38. The Oilers were up five before Peek took a field goal and a 3-pointer, retying the game at 45. The Jackets then ran down the clock leaving just enough time for Bennett to smash home a 3-point buzzer beater, putting the Jackets up 58-52 heading into the final quarter.
The Jackets didn’t lose the lead in the fourth quarter. Freshman forward Alli Roh came up with a huge defensive play followed offensively by her own basket, giving the Jackets a 68-64 lead. Cedarville’s defense stepped up at this point in the game, keeping the Oilers quiet for about three and a half minutes.
With 13 seconds to play, the Jackets were up 72-70. Hochstetler put in two free throws extending their lead to four points and taking off a small amount of pressure. The Oilers missed a three with one second to play, and the victory went to the Jackets.
Peek believes the victory was a team effort that came down to coaching and execution.
“Just knowing the game plan and being able to implement that and have that intensity at the end,” said Peek. “I think that’s what got us the win.”
The Jackets get right back to their G-MAC play next Thursday when they host Trevecca University (1-4).
Abigail Hintz is a freshman journalism major and sports writer for Cedars. She loves sending people GIFs, reading books and watching way more soccer than the average person.