Boys basketball: Cedarville wins first OHC title in 15 years

Cedarville High School senior Isaiah Ramey is guarded by Northeastern's Cole Allen during their game on Tuesday night in Cedarville. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
Cedarville High School senior Isaiah Ramey is guarded by Northeastern's Cole Allen during their game on Tuesday night in Cedarville. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

CEDARVILLE — The Cedarville High School boys basketball team wasn’t going to wait to cut down the net.

The Division IV seventh-ranked Indians beat Catholic Central 70-57 on the road Saturday night at Jason Collier Gymnasium to clinch its first outright Ohio Heritage Conference championship since 2006.

“It’s exciting for our kids,” said Indians coach Ryan Godlove. “We’ve got a great group of kids this year. They’ve put in a lot of work, not just this year, but in past offseasons. It’s nice to be able to see all of that work pay off and win a conference title. We’re excited for our seniors. It’s nice to finish the year out like that.”

On the bus ride home after the game, the Indians coaching staff decided to have an impromptu net-cutting ceremony inside the gymnasium. They quickly began texting parents to allow them to celebrate with the players.

“We weren’t sure what the weather was going to be like this week,” Godlove said. “Honestly, it wasn’t planned at all, we were told by the administration, ‘We don’t know what next week is going to bring (with the weather). If you were hoping to cut down the nets, this may be your only chance.’ We wanted to celebrate with our kids. … It was a different situation, but still a fun experience.”

Cedarville is 17-1 and 13-1 in the Ohio Heritage South Division. They’ve won 11 straight games since falling to Northeastern on Jan. 5.

Defense has been the key to their success, Godlove said. The Indians are allowing 45.7 points per game and have allowed more than 50 points twice during the winning streak.

“Everyone has bought it and I feel like defensively we’ve had a really nice season,” Godlove said. “Sometimes our defense helps get our offense going. On nights when our offense isn’t playing great, our defense keeps us in the game.”

The Indians are led by two of the top scorers in the OHC — seniors Trent Koning (18.6 points per game) and Isaiah Ramey (15.9 ppg). Seniors Peyton Herron, Caleb McKinion and Hunter Baldwin have also provided a scoring punch this season as all three have had double-digit scoring efforts.

“We’ve got multiple guys who can score and I think that’s made a huge difference from years past,” Godlove said. “You always have to worry about all five guys on the court. We’ve also moved the ball and played together better than we ever have.”

The Indians also have a clear understanding of their roles on the team, Godlove said. They’re willing to do what it takes to win, he said.

“They’ve all bought in, understand their roles and give us everything they’ve got,”

A year ago, Cedarville lost to Jackson Center 33-30 in a D-IV district final game. The loss motivated his team in the offseason to improve on last season’s result, Godlove said.

The Indians earned the No. 1 seed in the sectional tournament and will face Miami Valley in a first round game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Troy High School. If both teams hold serve, the Indians could face third-seeded Catholic Central for a third time in the district semifinals, but they’re not looking past anyone, Godlove said.

“The guys are hungry to get back,” he said. “It’s a long road to get back there. We feel like there’s a lot of teams in our sectional to worry about. We lost to Northeastern earlier this year and we had to remind ourselves every game that it’s one game at a time. We’re worried about this week and getting ready for Miami Valley. The guys are hungry to see how far we can go. We feel like we’ve got a special team this year and we want to see how long we can ride it out.”

In Other News