by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets shot lights out Thursday night and defeated the visiting Ohio Dominican Panthers by a score of 99-72 in the Callan Athletic Center. The Jackets are now 3-2 and sitting at fourth in the G-MAC standings.
Senior Conner TenHove highlighted the red-hot Cedarville offense, dropping 23 points and pulling in 13 rebounds for a double-double that included 6-7 shooting from 3-point range.
“The team played really well and we were flowing really well on offense which helped me find my rhythm,” said TenHove about his performance.
The game marked Cedarville’s first game in two weeks following an extended time out due to COVID-19 protocols. For Thursday’s game, Cedarville remained without seven of its 16 players able to play.
The Yellow Jackets got off to a quick start, knocking down six of their first nine shots from the field, and taking an early 13-4 advantage going into the first media timeout of the half.
With just under eight minutes left in the first half, Cedarville had extended the lead to 13 and was up 27-14.
The Yellow Jackets ended the half with TenHove and Speelman each nailing a 3-pointer, and the team took a commanding 48-27 lead into the locker room.
Conner TenHove paced the offense in the first half with 14 points, followed by Quinton Green with 13 and Isaiah Speelman with 11, respectively.
In the first half, Cedarville shot a solid 49 percent from the floor as a team, and 63 percent from deep, all while limiting Ohio Dominican to only 27 points on 37 percent shooting from the field.
Cedarville’s offense picked up right where it left off going into the second half, and went eight straight possessions with 19 points a few minutes into the half.
The veterans, who had set the tone for the game in the first half, continued to pour on the points for the Yellow Jackets in the second half of play.
On a night that Cedarville could not hardly miss from deep, senior Andrew Stein came off the bench with just over two minutes to play in the game and took advantage of the opportunity to nail a 3-pointer, a play that sent the bench for the Yellow Jackets into celebration.
In addition to TenHove scoring 23 points, Quinton Green finished the night with 23 points, and Junior Isaiah Speelman poured in 22 points on 4-5 shooting from 3-point range.
Junior Branden Maughmer contributed 13 points to go with eight assists in another solid outing from the veteran point guard. Brandon Redendo and Nick Mantis both chipped in six points on the night for the home team.
The team shot an astounding 65 percent from the field in the second half while shooting 18-28, or 67 percent, from the 3-point line.
Cedarville grabbed 34 rebounds in the game to gain a slight advantage over the Panthers, who finished the game with 33 rebounds.
Head coach Pat Estepp, when evaluating his team’s performance said, “I thought we played with more flow on offense and we were aggressive. I thought our veterans really set the tone early in this game and we needed that.”
Estepp was quick to give credit to his assistant coach Pat Bain. After Estepp was out for the last couple weeks due to COVID-19 protocols, Bain took over practices and workouts for the players to prepare the team for a smooth return.
“I thought he [Bain] did a great job having our guys as ready as they could be,” remarked Estepp following the win.
The Yellow Jackets will look to continue the momentum as they return to play on Saturday, January 23rd when Cedarville travels to Lake Erie for another G-MAC matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. as the Yellow Jackets look to get a third straight win.
Josh Decker is a junior Sport Business Management major, and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.