by Tim Miller
Making it to the 2019 G-MAC Tournament has never been in question for the Cedarville Lady Jackets, but they can officially cross that goal off their list after a 90-50 thrashing of Tiffin on Saturday afternoon. While the Lady Jackets have dealt with a rough two weeks, returning to Callan and smacking a G-MAC foe may give the Lady Jackets the juice they need to push themselves back into contention for the the No. 1 position in the conference.
Cedarville (18-6, 14-4 G-MAC) had an entire week to prepare for the Dragons, and it showed. They dominated on the glass . (plus-14 margin), in the turnover margin (plus-eight), and in shooting (54 percent from the field).
Freshman guard Emily Chapman was Cedarville’s leading scorer, pouring in 15 points on 6-8 shooting. Senior forward Abby Wolford added 14 points (all of which came in the first quarter) and six rebounds.
Senior forward Ellie Juengel enjoyed extended playing time, scoring 14 points on 4-7 shooting from deep (shooters shoot). It was Juengel’s highest scoring output of the season.
“We just had awesome teamwork, awesome energy, from the start,” Juengel said. “We knew our gameplan and we executed really well.”
The bench saw a larger share of minutes than in most games all season, and it produced 44 points and two of the Lady Jackets’ highest scorers (Chapman, Juengel).
“We haven’t been able to get those kids the minutes they really do deserve,” head coach Kari Hoffman said. “I was pleased to get them in there and get them in for a very long stretch in the fourth quarter. They continued to play well and play together.”
Cedarville’s defense was its bread and butter to start the game, forcing three turnovers and allowing just two points in the first four minutes. Senior guard Baylee Bennett splashed the game’s first triple with 5:12 left in the first quarter to put Cedarville up 9-4, and to that point, Tiffin shot just 33 percent from the field.
Wolford exploded to score Cedarville’s final seven points of the quarter, giving the Lady Jackets’ their first double digit lead of the game as well as its largest lead at 26-12.
Cedarville shot 58 percent from the field in the first frame and outrebounded Tiffin by four. The Lady Jackets distributed the ball well, dropping five dimes.
The Lady Jackets continued to accelerate, blowing by the Dragons to go up 30-12 just a minute-and-a-half into the quarter. The spark prompted a timeout by Tiffin as Cedarville took a firm grip in the game in a short amount of time.
Tiffin fought back briefly to bring the game within 12, but Cedarville sprinted forward again. The Lady Jackets maintained a commanding lead and broke a 20-point margin with 2:38 in the period.
As the quarter waned, Hoffman began subbing in players closer to the south end of the bench. Juengel hit a triple with six seconds left in the quarter, and Cedarville went into the locker room with a 47-25 margin.
Chapman scored all 10 of her first half points in the second quarter, shooting 4-6 in the quarter. Sophomore guard Ashlyn Huffman added six points in the quarter, making all three of her attempts from the field.
Every active player but two saw time on the floor in the first half for the Lady Jackets.
Bennett got hot to start the third, making triples on two possessions in a row. Her second put Cedarville up 55-27. After beginning the quarter with all starters, Hoffman’s rotation featured primarily reserves, and for much of the third Cedarville’s lineup either featured one or zero starters on the floor.
Cedarville led 69-36 after three periods. Bennett and Juengel each made a pair of triples in the quarter. Cedarville shot above 50 percent from the field yet again and held a dominating plus-13 margin on the glass.
Starters returned for the first minute of the fourth before exiting the game for a final time, receiving hearty applause from the Cedarville faithful. Cedarville’s bench easily closed out the game, as every player but one scored for the Lady Jackets by the time the final buzzer sounded.
“It’s good to be home and it’s good to win by a bunch,” Hoffman said. “I feel like it’s been a while since that has happened. It was really good to see everyone play well, from the starters to the bench.”
Cedarville will rest until Thursday when they play Lake Erie. Cedarville won at Lake Erie on Jan. 10, 63-51. Senior Day will come two days later as the Lady Jackets will take on Ursuline in the two teams’ only matchup of the season.