By: Maggie Fipps
Every coach adage, every cliche, sounds the same: ‘it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish.’
Sometimes, that finishing moment can erase the past. With 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter, senior guard Paige Garr glided around her defender, the ball lazily rolled into the net, and simultaneously the penalty whistle blew. Instantly, it seemed that the first three quarters of struggles would be washed away. The team gathered under the basket, certain they were about to scratch their way back into the game against their conference rival.
“We dug ourselves too big of a hole to climb out of,” said head coach Jason Smith.
The Cedarville women’s basketball team succumbed to the speed and efficiency of the Malone Pioneers’ offense, 76-72, but their feisty spirit made it a competitive game.
The Jackets entered the game as underdogs, their 6-11 record is almost the reverse of the Pioneers at 14-6. However, as they have done several times this season, they used adversity as their motivation.
“This team has shown over and over again in games that they’re going to fight and try and scrap to get back in games,” said Smith.
Cedarville’s biggest problem was ball movement. Players seemed glued to their spots as if drawn by magnetic force, with minimal cutting to confuse the defense. Their defensive strategy invited three-point shots, and Malone ended the game by making 60% of their shots from behind the arc. They also allowed too many points in the paint, with their primary inside defender Makenna Fee hindered by a knee brace.
“Every team that comes here decides this is the best shooting gym in the country,” said Smith. “Our opponent’s field goal percentage in this gym is nuts.”
However, following each timeout or break, the team seemed to rally together. A block by junior guard Lydia Sweeney, or a massive three-point shot by senior guard Abby Freeman would keep the Jackets just within reach.
Although they left home without a win, Smith hopes they can return home from Malone in two weeks with the one they got back.
“We proved at times that we could actually guard them. That should give us some confidence going up to their place.”
Maggie Fipps is a sophomore journalism student and the sports editor of Cedars. She enjoys playing the piano and thrifting, and you may spot her around campus sporting Packers gear head to toe.
*Picture by Roberto Moran
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