by Abigail Hintz
Head coach Kari Hoffman breathed a sigh of relief following Cedarville’s 80-64 victory over Alderson Broaddus on Thursday.
“It’s good to be home,” she said.
After five weeks away, the Lady Jackets (13-3, 9-1 G-MAC) began their homestand with a G-MAC matchup against the middling yet pesky Battlers. Though such a score would usually lend itself to an easy victory, Thursday’s game was anything but. The Battlers kept sneaking their way to the Jackets’ scoreline, causing problems in every quarter. Regardless, Cedarville remains undefeated on its home court.
Dominant seniors Abby Wolford and Baylee Bennett continued their successful campaigns Thursday night. Wolford led her team in points with 20, going 3-6 from behind the arc. Fellow senior Bennett was not far behind with 16, taking four of her seven 3-point attempts. Sophomore Ashlyn Huffman scored 11 points and had a team-high seven assists.
The Jackets came into the first quarter like they meant it, taking three-pointers as their first four field goals, all in the opening five minutes. Once they settled in, however, their intensity dwindled while the Battlers turned theirs up. Cedarville lost its lead towards the end of the quarter, but managed to pull it back with less than a minute to spare thanks to a Wolford 3-pointer.
In the second quarter the Lady Jackets turned it around. They were cohesive, both offensively and defensively. They were calm, cool and collected, keeping the Battlers’ heads on swivels with quick ball movement. Cedarville’s lead in the second quarter got as high as 15. The Jackets kept their lead the rest of the game, though they came close to losing it several times.
“They’re a team that doesn’t go away,” said Hoffman.
Cedarville’s play got a little sloppy toward the end of the quarter, but they held onto their lead and went into halftime up 40-31 over the Battlers.
The Jackets’ offense struggled early in the third quarter, but their defense managed to force 13 turnovers. The Battlers began pressing high, but the Jackets adapted well keeping their turnover total to nine. Wolford said this was one of their goals coming into the game.
“We wanted to be under 10 turnovers, and we had nine. We’re all really happy with making our goals,” said Wolford.
With less than a minute to play in the third the Jackets switched to zone defense and came up with some big stops, ending the quarter with a 10-point lead, 59-49.
The fourth quarter started with a huge momentum boost for the Jackets thanks to Wolford who stole the ball and made a layup. Cedarville’s offense stalled at 63 points, allowing the Battlers to come within six after being down 12 to start the fourth. The slump did not last long, as the Jackets managed to find their groove again, getting their lead back to 70-60 with five minutes left to play.
With two minutes to play both teams made some major changes. Cedarville added some fresh legs with senior Ellie Juengel and freshman Allison Mader. The team’s intensity stayed sharp, and they continued pushing until the final whistle with a score of 80-64.
The Jackets are back in action this Saturday when they take on G-MAC competitor Davis & Elkins (4-11, 3-7 G-MAC). Cedarville’s four-game homestand ends next Saturday.
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.