by Abigail Hintz
The Cedarville Lady Jackets finished their six-game homestand with an 89-78 win over Kentucky Wesleyan, handing the Panthers their first G-MAC loss of the season. It was a game of teamwork, pressure and tough, gritty play. Cedarville’s experience was a huge advantage, as the Panthers have a very young team with only one junior and no seniors. Cedarville came into Saturday’s G-MAC competition with the goal of protecting their court, and that they did.
Overall, the Lady Jackets are 7-1 and 4-0 in conference. With Saturday’s win they stay in first place in the G-MAC. This was the last of the team’s six-game homestand, and they managed to make it through with a clean record and on a seven-game win streak.
Head coach Kari Hoffman was very happy with the teamwork that showed in the stat sheet. The Jackets ended the game with 20 assists, and three players had high-scoring games.
“Against their run and jump pressure, we needed to be poised,” said Hoffman. “Hats off to our seniors, they played like women today.”
Senior guard Abby Wolford met the high expectations she has come to receive with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, going 8-14 in field goals. Fellow seniors Regina Hochstetler and Baylee Bennett also had solid games. Bennett took 21 points of her own, going 6-11 in field goals with six assists. Hochstetler had 19 points and was 6-12 in field goals. All three seniors had four 3-pointers a piece.
“I’m super proud of our team,” said Wolford. “You never know who’s going to be the leading scorer in a game.”
The two teams were locked in in the first quarter, coming out of the locker room almost too fast. The Jackets couldn’t slow down enough to really gain any momentum, only taking one lead in the first quarter. The Panthers began to settle in late in the first quarter, taking a 17-9 lead with about two and a half minutes to play.
Wolford responded with two back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing the Jackets within two of the Panthers, 17-15. Cedarville couldn’t quite get ahead however, ending the first quarter behind Kentucky Wesleyan 20-16.
The Jackets seemed to have more momentum coming into the second quarter. The Panthers stayed one step ahead until Bennett put in two free throws, finally giving the Jackets the lead at 32-31. Freshman Emily Chapman extended the lead with her first 3-pointer of the night, followed by a Hochstetler 3-pointer giving the Jackets a 38-34 lead.
Five points and two good free throws led the Panthers to think they would go into the locker room even once again, but with less than one second to play Wolford managed to set Chapman up for a buzzer-beater lay up giving her team a 41-39 lead.
Wolford continued her dominant game right out of the locker room with another 3-pointer. The Panthers regained the lead with five minutes to play in the third quarter, 50-49. The Jackets took back control after Bennett took two 3-pointers yet again, giving them a 57-56 lead. Chapman was silenced in this quarter and the next, but instead she added two assists in the third and three in the fourth quarter. Cedarville was up 61-58 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Jackets. Hochstetler was commanding all game, but really made her presence known in the final 10 minutes, doubling her point total. The Panthers were fighting to regain control of the game, but Cedarville was just as determined.
Deep into the fourth quarter, Wolford and Hochstetler took a three-pointer and field goal, respectively, giving their team their biggest lead of the game at 79-68. The Jackets had the Panthers right where they wanted them, and they kept them there, winning 89-78.
The Lady Jackets will be on the road until Jan. 17, beginning the away stretch at Tiffin (2-7, 0-4 G-MAC) this Thursday.
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.