CEDARVILLE— Free throws may be among the least glamorous plays in basketball, but a lot of times, those shots can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Nobody knows that better than the Cedarville Indians (6-6, 3-4 OHC), who came up big at the foul line when it mattered, as the squad pulled out a 41-40 home victory against West Liberty-Salem (5-9, 4-3 OHC), Friday night.
In what was a low scoring affair, the Indians were 6-of-7 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I think free throws were the difference,” said Cedarville coach Ryan Godlove. “I think they missed some and we knocked them down. It will be nice to remind the kids how important free throws are.”
Cedarville junior Brant Wickline opened overtime by sinking both of his freebies, while center Craig Oldiges put the game on ice with two makes and time running out.
In overtime, both teams were as cold from the field as Cedarville’s heatless gym. Neither squad made a field-goal attempt, until WLS’ Connor Woods hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The win had a redeeming feel for Godlove, who saw his team blow a double-digit lead when this teams lat played in December.
“We were up by 20 and lost last time (we played WLS),” Godlove said. “It was nice to come back…and get a win against them.
Oldiges added 16 to the Indians’ scoresheet, and created havoc around the basket all night.
“We just didn’t get boxed out as much as we needed to do. He was an animal in there attacking the boards,” said Tigers’ coach Darrin Leichty.
Oldiges’ biggest basket came with Cedarville trailing by two and just 20 seconds remaining.
Hudson Grant beat his defender off the dribble and drove baseline before finding Oldiges, who covered from 4-feet out, to tie the game at 37.
For the second time in two weeks, Grant made the smart pass with the game one the line.
“It was a great play … that’s a couple times he’s made good decisions to finish at the end of a game,” Godlove said.
Wickline added 16 to the Indians’ total, while WLS was led by Ben Burden, who scored nine.
Brandon Adams added eight. Jaiden Merrick scored six, all of which came in the first half.