By Maggie Fipps
The Cedarville women’s basketball team narrowly won an important divisional game, beating the Tiffin Dragons 69-68. They improved their conference record to 6-4 in what may prove to be a crucial game as they attempt to advance to the GMAC tournament in March.
The Jackets slowly drifted through the first quarter, starting with losing the opening tipoff, and their first points didn’t come till four minutes in.
However, the tone changed in the second quarter when the team came out of the break with an improved attitude and aggressiveness. A long 3-point shot from guard Emily Chapman gave the Jackets some momentum, but Tiffin answered with a dominant performance in the paint. All night, the Jackets struggled to keep the Dragon’s guard Jada Tate locked down.
Head Coach Jason Smith attributes the slow start to a rough preparation day.
“We were lacking some enthusiasm at the start of the game, that carried over from a practice yesterday that wasn’t a great one for us,” said Smith. “We can’t do that.”
The third quarter was a low point for the Jackets as they desperately needed to get points on the board. The offense started to run through Chapman, and their urgency increased as the Dragons continued to have their way in the paint. A timeout was called by Cedarville halfway through the third quarter as the Dragons gained a ten-point leader, their biggest of the nights. But what looked to be the end was just the beginning for the Lady Jackets.
With nine minutes left in the 4th quarter, Chapman put an amazing spin move on the defender, leaving a wide-open lane for a layup. This pivotal play and the one-point lead it gave them motivated the Jackets to close out the win. Even as Tiffin put up a last-second fight, guard Paige Garr won the game with four crucial free throws.
Smith was proud of how his players continued to push through adversity.
“When things weren’t going right, they continued to battle,” said Smith. “All of a sudden, balls started going in the bucket.”
Smith then reiterated how important this win is to the conference standings.
“The game on Saturday against Ashland, we could play well and still lose, but every team in the conference could lose to them,” said Smith. “This was the game we needed to win.”
Maggie Fipps is a freshman journalism student and the co-sports editor of Cedars. She enjoys playing the piano and thrifting, and you may spot her around campus sporting Packers gear head to toe.