JAMESTOWN — Breaking through during a defensive struggle, Hayden Hanson played head and shoulders above his competition.
The Battle of 72 is always a spirited affair and this meeting was no different. Cedarville held off a furious comeback attempt by Greeneview to win on the road with a 46-41 victory.
Hanson was a big part of the win in leading all scorers with 19 points. Nine of those came during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter where he single handedly carried the Indians from a three-point advantage up to ten, capping it off with a two-handed slam on a fast break.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Hanson said. “My teammates were giving me good looks and shooters shoot. I just wanted to keep my rhythm and be able to make shots.”
With 2:30 remaining, the Rams did not back down and cut the lead in half on a three-pointer and and-one bucket over the next minute.
Greeneview forced several steals in the final minute, but were unable to convert around the basket to cut any closer than three. A pair of free throws by Caden McKinion sealed the game with eight seconds left.
Hanson, a senior, had not played in the Cedarville’s previous four contests. He is far and away the OHC leader in blocked shots with 4.8 per game, but came up big on the offensive end by scoring one point off his career high.
“It was nice to see him have a big offensive game for us,” Cedarville head coach Ryan Godlove said. “He can be a big-time player on both ends of the court and he affects games consistently on defense.
“Today he came up big on the offensive end and especially late down the stretch by making some good plays, as well as running the floor in transition. I’m excited for him for him to be able to get a big win against our rivals while playing so well.”
The game played out with intense defense from both sides, as both teams went through scoring droughts of more than five minutes during the first half en route to a 20-20 tie at the break.
Cedarville limited the Rams’ offense to five field goals and nothing inside the arc during the second quarter.
“We’ve been playing really well offensively lately and tonight it was nice to see us get back after it on the defensive end,” Godlove said. “We did miss some shots tonight that we usually make, and it really made defense a huge part of the win tonight. … For us to be able to get some big stops when we needed to is a step in the right direction for us.”
The struggle continued into the second half as neither team scored in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Greeneview briefly built its largest lead at 26-22 with 3:28 to go in the quarter on baskets by Jordan Erisman and Myles Witt.
Cedarville (15-4, 11-3) ended the quarter with a 7-0 to take the lead for good to set up Hanson’s big finish.
“Defensively I thought we were really good,” Greeneview head coach Kyle Fulk said. “Hindsight being 20/20 , we could go back and do some stuff differently, but I really wouldn’t want to change a whole lot because I thought we were doing a pretty good job. Defensively they did a great job and made us uncomfortable. Their defense tonight was locked in to what they needed to do and really did a good job.”
In addition to Hanson, McKinion added 11 points while Tyler Cross had seven for the Indians.
Greeneview (13-6, 9-5) had a trio of scorers have nine points in Carter Williams, Erisman and Witt. Ethan Caudill scored eight.
Despite the loss, Fulk said he was proud of the way his team made a run to keep the game close.
“That’s what our kids are,” he said. “I told them in the locker room that there are some stuff that we need to fix as players and as coaches, but effort is never one of those things. We’re gonna have opportunities to get better.”
After a recent loss ended a Cedarville win streak at nine games and now having won two in a row, Godlove said he feels the Indians are having its best practices this season and have responded with heads held high.
“We know that we have multiple guys that can step up on different nights and I think honestly just the biggest thing for our guys is that we get the win as they don’t really care who gets the points,” Godlove said. “It’s nice to see of them. With Hanson stepping up on offensive big time, our guys will also like seeing someone also get a big game no matter who it is and tonight he was the one that was rolling and they all fed off that.”
Both teams won on the road in the rivalry matchup this season by five-point margins.
Greeneview and Cedarville fans, students and players wore purple in memory of recent impactful deaths in the community.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.