by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets used a 14-0 run in the second half to take control and ultimately beat Alderson Broaddus on Saturday afternoon, winning 82-63. The win allows Cedarville to continue to fight for top positioning in the G-MAC with a 13-8 record overall and an impressive 9-3 mark in the conference.
The conference got tighter today, as Findlay upset Walsh, creating a three-way tie for first place in the conference. Sitting right behind with one more loss are the Yellow Jackets in second place.
Head coach Pat Estepp said he wasn’t surprised by the Battlers’ gritty performance.
“They’ve been a tough out for quite a few teams,” Estepp said. “They’ve got some competitive kids and some athletes. For us, in particular, we had some tough matchups.”
Sophomore forward Kollin Van Horn caught fire in the contest, going off for 26 points on 11-15 shooting. The Proctorville, Ohio native also grabbed nine boards.
“The night belonged to Kollin,” Estepp said. “We were just gonna feed him until they adjusted. He’s a really tough matchup that we had to just keep going back to.”
Sophomore guard Branden Maughmer added 17 points and eight assists. Junior forward Conner TenHove contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Senior guard Demond Parker made four trifectas for 12 points.
Cedarville’s offense ran through Van Horn early, as the sophomore scored the Yellow Jackets’ first four points. Outside of Van Horn’s two makes, Cedarville missed its first seven shots. The Battlers weren’t so hot themselves, canning just two of their first seven attempts. At the first media timeout, Alderson Broaddus led 5-4.
Van Horn continued his success and scored off an offensive rebound to put Cedarville up 6-5 after the timeout. On the next possession, Maughmer finally became the second Yellow Jacket to score after swishing a shot from the right elbow.
The Yellow Jackets continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball, failing to score for the first two minutes after Van Horn was subbed out for the first time. Freshman forward Jacob Drees made a short jumper to stop the drought, and TenHove maid a left-handed layup on the next possession to give Cedarville the lead back at 12-11 with 10:27 on the clock.
The Battlers upped the tempo in the next few minutes, looking to sprint away from Cedarville’s full-court run-and-jump press. Cedarville kept its lead while trading buckets, as the margin flipped from two points to four multiple times. Maughmer made a jumper to give Cedarville a 20-16 lead with 7:07 remaining, and then he lobbed a half-court oop to Van Horn, which he turned into a layup.
On the next possession, Van Horn again hit a layup, this time from the left block, giving Cedarville a six-point lead. The Battlers fought right back, grabbing five consecutive points to cut the lead back to one. Cedarville clung tight to its lead, and at the media timeout with 3:37 left, the Yellow Jackets led 27-23.
Both teams got hot to end the half, as Cedarville made six of its last seven attempts while the Battlers made 8-9 of theirs. Cedarville finally lost its lead with fix seconds left after a turnover, as Alderson Broaddus tied the game at 34. The Yellow Jackets were unable to take the lead again before the break.
Van Horn was 6-8 from the field in the first half which led to 12 points. Van Horn also added a half-high six rebounds. Parker and TenHove both tallied six points, and TenHove corralled four rebounds. Maughmer, who has seen his scoring numbers dip slightly in recent games, had four points but led all players with four dimes.
The tied score was indicative of other factors in the first half. Each team shot 46.9% from the field (15 of 32), and the Battlers made three triples compared to Cedarville’s two. Cedarville was successful on the glass, pulling down five more rebounds than the Battlers. While Cedarville had just two more turnovers, Alderson Broaddus made the most of forcing them, as the Battlers enjoyed 15 points off Cedarville’s turnovers, compared to the Yellow Jackets’ eight.
“I wasn’t real happy with our effort defensively in the first half,” Estepp said. “We had to play some small ball in the second half because they were playing three or four guards at time and they were just driving us.”
Estepp brought out a different five than his starters to being the second half, sending Drees and Green to the bench in favor of Parker and Speelman. Van Horn picked up where he left off in the first half with two more points, this time venturing away from the paint a draining a jumper from the left elbow.
After the Battlers scored five in a row, Cedarville responded with 10 in a row, six of which came from Parker. With 15:25 left, the Yellow Jackets led 46-39 and a clear momentum shift was felt.
The run maxed out at 14-0, as the Yellow Jackets kept Alderson Broaddus off the board for over five minutes. With 11:56 left, Cedarville led 55-43 as TenHove and Maughmer helped Van Horn and Parker during the suffocating run.
Alderson Broaddus scored five unanswered to get the margin back below double digits, but Cedarville continued to flirt with a 10-point lead. With 4:43 remaining, the Battlers swished an open triple to cut the lead back to eight. Estepp called a timeout in response to make sure the lead wasn’t cut anymore.
After Van Horn made a fastbreak scooping layup, he muscled his way to the hoop for two more and was fouled on the play. Van Horn made the ensuring free throw and Cedarville owned a commanding 73-58 advantage with 2:57 on the clock.
Cedarville made a few more shots while milking the clock, leading to a near-20 point lead and an eventual easy win.
The Yellow Jackets outpaced the Battlers 48-29 in the second half. Additionally, Cedarville made 62.1% of its shots from the field in the second half and held Alderson Broaddus to a 30% field goal percentage.
Since a blowout loss to Walsh on Jan. 11, the Yellow Jackets are beating opponents by 19 points on average. Estepp said his team has stepped up since the beatdown to the top team in the conference.
“I thought we showed a lot of maturity,” Estepp said. “We challenged them and they’ve responded really well.”
The Yellow Jackets’ five-game homestand concludes this Saturday when Cedarville clashes with Wilberforce in a non-conference affair. It will be the only meeting of the season between the two teams and Cedarville owns a 68-19 all-time advantage.
Tim Miller is a senior marketing major, editor-in-chief and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, knowing too much about health insurance, and striving to perfect the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.