By: Jonathan Snyder
As the Cedarville Yellow Jackets finished off a 10-0 run to start the 2nd half of their game against the Northwood Timberwolves, the scoreboard finally reflected the Jacket’s prowess in a 87-67 win.
Cedarville started off the game keeping the Timberwolves at bay, but never breaking away. There would always be something to keep the Timberwolves close, whether it be turnovers or defensive breakdowns. This led to a four-point lead for the Jackets at the close of the first half.
Cedarville Head Coach Pat Estepp knew that his team was the better side, and was frantically attempting to preach effort and communication with a timeout rant that may have been heard in the trophy room outside of the gymnasium.
Jacob Drees, a senior forward, spoke candidly about the first-half effort from the Yellow Jackets.
“I think we just came out a little bit slow, maybe didn’t have enough respect for our opponents.”
Drees would end the night with 21 points, 12 rebounds and was two assists shy of a triple-double.
Coach Estepp reflected Drees’s sentiments about the first half.
“They were more aggressive than us and they hit some tough shots. I didn’t think our effort and our energy were very good.”
Estepp’s halftime talk would lead to a more defensively sound squad. The Timberwolves went from shooting 53% from the field to shooting 38% in the second half. Combine that defensive formula with a consistent three-point shooting game, and the Jackets had a recipe for a dominant second-half performance.
Cedarville also showed increased speed and alertness in the second half. The coaching staff could tell that fatigue was setting in for Northwood, and the Jacket substitutes were told to keep pushing the tempo.
Once the rebounding battle started to fall to Cedarville, the Timberwolves had little answers on defense, as junior forwards Jayvon Maughmer and Grant Whisman would finish with 23 and 15 points respectively.
The Jackets will look to keep up this recent pace as they start a three-game road trip with stops in Tiffin, Trevecca and Malone. With the Yellow Jackets in a dogfight for fifth place in the GMAC standings, this road trip could decide the Jacket’s fate come March.
*Photography by Roberto Moran