by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets (10-8) lost on the road 74-54 to NABC Division II No. 9 Hillsdale (19-1) on Saturday afternoon in the final regular season game of the year. The Jackets established early momentum and stayed competitive with Hillsdale for most of the first half, but the home team took over in the final twenty minutes to secure the G-MAC regular season title.
Junior Quinton Green led the way offensively for the Jackets, pouring in 22 points on 9-13 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds. Junior Branden Maughmer dropped 13 points on the night and got three boards.
Green started the game off with a shot in the paint to give Cedarville the first points of the game, and then drilled a triple the next possession down the court. By the first media timeout, the Jackets’ had jumped out to a 10-8 lead.
The Chargers quickly rallied from the deficit, however. Over the course of the next few minutes, Hillsdale outscored Cedarville 10-0 until the next media timeout, when the Jackets’ trailed 23-13.
Cedarville went nine straight possessions without scoring before a Green 3-pointer broke the offensive drought. After getting a couple baskets, the Yellow Jackets’ went another nine straight possessions without a single point. Once again, a 3-pointer, this time by Isaiah Speelman, stopped the run.
The Jackets’ trailed 37-26 before a Grant Whisman triple at the end of the first half cut the deficit to eight as Cedarville went into the locker-room down 37-29.
The Yellow Jackets shot only 36 percent from the field in the first twenty minutes, and were an ice-cold 4-14, or 29 percent, from deep. Hillsdale, on the other hand, shot 58 percent from the field and converted 5-8, or 63 percent, from behind-the-arc.
Cedarville did force the Chargers to commit nine turnovers in the half, but the Jackets’ were getting outworked on the boards by a 17-14 margin.
The Jackets’ came out of the break with three straight buckets to narrow the Hillsdale lead, but after a couple of turnovers, found themselves down 52-36 with 16 minutes to play in the game.
Hillsdale’s shooters kept finding their shots and stretched the lead to twenty with the score at 66-46 before Cedarville went on a 7-0 with seven minutes left to cut the lead to 66-53.
Once again though, a long offensive drought would hurt the Jackets’, and this time the lack of scoring lasted for eleven straight possessions. This ultimately dashed any hopes of a comeback, and Hillsdale went on to secure the victory 75-54.
Cedarville finished the afternoon shooting 33 percent from the floor and only 6-25, or 24 percent, from behind-the-arc. The Chargers’ finished the contest hitting 50 percent from the floor and lighting it up from deep at 56 percent.
Hillsdale controlled the glass by a 37-33 margin, though Quinton Green finished with 7 boards for the Jackets, while Kollin VanHorn and Conner TenHove each had four.
The Jackets’ also committed more turnovers in the second half, finishing the game with 10, though Cedarville did force a total of 12 turnovers over the course of the game.
The Jackets’ will now try to move on from the loss and focus on the G-MAC conference tournament, which starts on Tuesday, March 2nd. Cedarville is slated to take on Kentucky Wesleyan in the first round.
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.