by Abigail Hintz
The No. 1 seed Lady Jackets (19-5) fell to the No. 5 Tiffin Dragons (15-8) in the semifinals of the G-MAC championship tournament 72-56. Whether or not it is the true end of Cedarville’s dominant season will be determined in the coming days as the teams who have made it into the NCAA Division II tournament becomes clear.
This was the third time the two teams had met this season. Cedarville took the first meeting in early January 79-65 while Tiffin took the second 83-70 in early February.
Cedarville was outshot and outworked by Tiffin. The Lady Jackets were only 34 percent on 19-56 shooting from the field. The team was led by senior Ashlyn Huffman with 14 points and five rebounds. Junior Allison Mader had 10 points, junior Lexi Moore had eight points and junior Emily Chapman had six points.Tiffin forced the Lady Jackets to run down the shot clock with tight defense early. The Jackets went down 10-4 early with Moore the only one on the scoreboard until Chapman drained a triple to put her team within three. Cedarville found themselves down 12-7 heading into the first media timeout. Moore and Wheeler had four points a piece to finish out the first quarter, at which point Cedarville was down 20-13.
The Jackets were simply being outshot by Tiffin. Early in the second quarter, Tiffin was shooting 55 percent from the field compared to Cedarville’s 30 percent. From deep they were their usual selves, shooting 50 percent on 3-6. Bolender put in work in the second quarter, giving the Jackets momentum with great offense and a stellar fadeaway in the paint to put the team within four.
However halfway through the second quarter the Jackets were being outworked. Heading into the media timeout Cedarville was down 32-21. Shooting just 36 percent compared to the Dragons’ 60, there was no way for them to compensate. Paige Garr rounded out the second quarter going 2-3 from the line, but the Jackets were still down 38-25 at the end of the half.
Chapman was leading the Cedarville scoring with just six points, and the team’s normal scorers were hard to see. She finished the half with team-highs of six points and five rebounds.
Tiffin’s junior guard Aarion Nichols was beating the Jackets on her own with a dominant 18 points at the end of the first half on 9-12 shooting.
Tiffin had complete control of the third quarter, going on a nine-point run early ended only by a triple from Paige Garr. Cedarville’s shooting was only worsening, at 29 percent. Tiffin’s defense was suffocating and Cedarville’s offense wasn’t meshing as they had ten turnovers by the fourth quarter. Huffman was finally contributing and led at the end of the third with 10 points. Tiffin still led headed into the fourth 53-37.
The Jackets were playing better in the fourth quarter, but Tiffin’s offense was demoralizingly consistent. Cedarville was pressing higher and higher but the Dragons continuously broke through and scored nearly every time. Cedarville’s season ended with the 72-56 loss.
The Lady Jackets were granted a berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament as a No. 4 seed in the Atlantic Region. They will take on No. 5 Walsh on Friday at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. This is the team’s second appearance in the NCAA tournament. They are one of four G-MAC teams to get a bid.
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.