Walsh Spoils Senior Night For Lady Jackets In Heartbreaker

by Abigail Hintz

The No. 24 Cedarville Lady Jackets (17-4) are now on their first-ever losing streak after a devastating 81-79 loss to the Walsh University Cavaliers (13-4) on senior night, honoring Ashlyn Huffman and Stevie Johnting. The Lady Jackets still sit at the top of the G-MAC, but with only one regular season game left compared to other teams who still have several, that could change. The last meeting between these two teams ended in favor of the Jackets 90-71.

Cedarville was led by sophomore Isabelle Bolender and senior Ashlyn Huffman with 20 points each. Bolender had a team-high nine rebounds and Huffman had a team-high nine assists. Junior Emily Chapman had 17 points and seven assists and sophomore Paige Garr contributed 12.

Isabelle Bolender (11) led the Jackets with 20 points. [Photos by Jacob Brethauer]

Statistically, the game was fairly even. Cedarville was not shooting 3-pointers as sharply as normal, going 8-16 from deep compared to Walsh’s 10-19.

The Cavaliers’ size was a major advantage. Their roster holds five players 6 feet tall and taller, while sophomore Allie Marshall is Cedarville’s tallest player at 5-feet-11-inches.

Huffman and Johnting took the floor for the last time in their regular-season home career, but they were met with a slow start. Walsh opened the scoring going up 7-0 early and the Jackets didn’t make it on the board until Bolender powered into the lane for a layup nearly four minutes in. They struggled to rebound against a much bigger Walsh side. The Jackets managed to hang with the Cavaliers early despite a slow offensive start. They took the lead towards the end of the quarter with a bucket from deep from Garr, but Walsh took it back 15-13.

Bolender came into the fourth quarter hot, scoring the first six points to tie the game twice. It was neck and neck all quarter, the Jackets up just 27-25 halfway through. Cedarville’s offense was beginning to stretch Walsh and gave Garr an open lane that led to a big three-point play for the sophomore and gave the Jackets their biggest lead yet at 34-30. The Cavs came storming back, however, and went up 38-36 heading into the half.

The Jackets came out pressing Walsh high in an attempt to disrupt their offense. They were able to slow them down and go on some runs of their own, going up 46-45 halfway through the third quarter. Junior Allison Mader gave her team some serious momentum with a 3-pointer when the teams were tied at 48 to put the Jackets up. A 3-point buzzer-beater gave Walsh a big lead headed into the final quarter up 56-51.

Ashlyn Huffman (5) also contributed 20 points on her senior night. [Photos by Jacob Brethauer]

Walsh was feeling the momentum and went up 61-53 early in the fourth quarter. The Jackets were exhausted from the physical battle and were unable to get out of the hole they were in. Walsh’s lead was as great as 10 points. Chapman had a big fourth quarter, draining several 3-pointers and giving Cedarville’s offense some much-needed energy. Freshman Anne Wheeler put the Jackets within four with four minutes to play with a bucket from deep at 71-67. There was hope for Cedarville again, they just needed to capitalize.

The Jackets battled and Huffman tied it at 79 with 12.5 seconds to play. Walsh was able to draw up the perfect play, however, and they took it with a buzzer-beater layup, 81-79.

Cedarville finishes out their regular season on Saturday when they head to Hillsdale for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off. The first round of the G-MAC tournament will be played the following Tuesday, March 2.

Abigail Hintz is a junior Journalism major and the Sports and Digital Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.

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