MONROE — Needing to call timeout in the first two minutes of the game the message was simply, “calm down.”
“We were fine,” Cedarville head coach Molly Cary said. “We needed to make easy passes because sometimes we try and get fancy. Easy passes and from there we could go.”
Calmness helped No. 4 Cedarville prevail in its Division IV sectional tournament game against Legacy Christian on Thursday. The Indians advanced to the sectional finals with a 51–47 win at Monroe High School.
Cedarville fell behind early while under pressure by the full court press Legacy applied, but following the time out it showed better awareness to not force the ball up court and trust it’s ball handlers to make better decisions.
From there, the Indians gained control of the action and gradually built a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter before Legacy started to find it’s own footing. The Knights began to use more double teams as Cedarville attempted to bleed clock, and forced several steals to keep cutting into the deficit.
Legacy, the No. 3-seed in the sectional, trailed by five with a minute remaining and was able to force a steal on three straight possessions, but were unable to convert any of the turnovers into baskets.
A layup by Frances Park eventually got the lead down to two with 11.7 seconds remaining. After unable to inbound the ball to freshman Ayden Rodgers, Cedarville turned its attention instead to senior Ciara Horney. She went on to calmly ice the game with two free throws in the final eight seconds remaining to help the Indians advance.
Cedarville was able to use its size to take away easy basket opportunities in the paint from Legacy and force its offense into more long range shots.
“What I felt like happened happened was that they just shot the ball well,” Legacy head coach Mark Combs said. “They shot from three point well and if you assess their stats for the year, I knew Ciara could shoot it but they had a lot of people make shots that weren’t Ciara.”
Molly Mossing scored 13 points along with Rodgers to lead the Indians. Horney also had 10.
Alli Graves had 15 for Legacy with Park scoring 13.
Cedarville made six threes in the game to three for Legacy.
“I’m super proud of our kids,” Combs said. “I didn’t think we shot the ball particularly well outside. One of our MO’s this season was when we were shooting the ball well we’re pretty tough and when we don’t we really struggle. So tonight, I was super proud of the girls because I didn’t think we shot it well and we were right there.”
Cedarville will face the No. 2-seed, Fayetteville Perry, on Monday at 6 p.m. back in Monroe.
“Very exciting. I’m very excited for the girls. They are a fun group and working hard,” Cary said.
“We’ve had some up-and-down this season but the last two games we played well. Now it’s just let’s have a couple good practices and go again on Monday.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.