by Joshua Stevens
Cedarville ruined Findlay’s undefeated start on Saturday, winning the huge conference game 82-69. It was Cedarville’s first G-MAC win of the season, and it comes by knocking off the No. 9 team in Division II.
The Jackets (3-4, 1-1 GMAC) never trailed and led by as many as 20. Senior Grant Zawadzki led the way with 26 points and five assists, and freshman Kollin VanHorn put up 18. As a team, the Jackets shot 96.4 percent from the free throw line, making 27 of 28 attempts.
“We needed this win,” Zawadzki said. “We came out and we fought, and it was a big win for this program.”
The Jackets started hot, with an 11-2 run to start the game. Their lead grew to as many as 15 in the first half, with VanHorn leading the way with 10 first half points and three steals. Branden Maughmer added nine points, and Conner TenHove had eight.
The highlight of the first half was the Jackets defense. They consistently had their hands in the passing lane, and also held the Oilers to 0-10 from behind the arc. On offense, the Jackets found ways to get the ball inside to VanHorn and TenHove. The Jackets shot an impressive 51.7 percent from the floor and hustled on both sides of the ball.
“Grit is the buzzword in athletics,” Estepp said. “I thought our guys showed a tremendous amount of it. Some extra effort plays that our guys made tonight were big.”
A Zawadzki 3-point buzzer beater at the end of the first half gave the Jackets a 38-26 lead into the locker room. The Jackets then kicked off the second half in a big way, going up 59-39 with 10 minutes left. Some Oiler 3-pointers started to fall, though, and the Jackets found themselves up only nine with three minutes left. A Colton Linkous 3-pointer and clutch free throws from Zawadzki sealed the deal, however, and the Jackets walked away with the 13-point win.
“Grant Zawadzki was huge,” Estepp said. “I kind of got on our upper-classmen last game, and this game I thought our upper-classmen played really well.”
With the big win, the Jackets look to start a run. They have two more G-MAC foes, Trevecca and Kentucky Wesleyan, coming to town next week.
“We’ve battled through some adversity,” Zawadzki said. “Now that we have this big win, we can’t get complacent. This has to be something we build on.”
“We’re young but we’re tough,” Estepp said. “They’ve got some fight to them. Couldn’t be prouder of or guys.”
Joshua Stevens is a junior journalism major and sports writer for Cedars. He enjoys rooting for the Tennessee Titans and listening to old-school music.