Ryan Godlove assessed his Cedarville boys basketball roster before the season and knew one thing for sure: These guys can score.
The Indians entered Tuesday’s home game against unbeaten rival Greeneview as the highest scoring team in the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division at 65.2. And Colby Cross was the division’s leading scorer at over 18. The Indians fell far short of both of those averages.
But it didn’t matter because of how the Indians played when they didn’t have the ball.
“From the start of the game, our focus was defense,” said junior guard Trent Koning. “We were just trying to make them uncomfortable, and we did our job.”
Defense has been the focus since the first day of practice for Godlove. And his team proved to him that it is committed to that end of the floor in a 48-43 victory over the Rams.
“To still work on the defensive end when nothing’s falling for you on the offensive end I don’t think is easy to do,” Godlove said.
That was as true for Cross as much as anyone. He scored a season-low six points. “I thought he still played a great game,” Godlove said.
Cedarville (6-1, 4-0) hadn’t beaten Greeneview (5-1, 3-1) in a while, so the student section celebrated with the players on the floor after the teams shook hands.
“We’ve been wanting to beat these guys for a long time,” junior guard Isaiah Ramey said. “It feels good because they’re good too.”
Tied at 25 early in the second half, the Indians went on a quick 6-0 run and led the rest of the game. The final two buckets in that run came off steals that the Indians turned into layups.
“Credit to Cedarville – they made more winning plays,” Greeneview coach Kyle Fulk said. “That’s the game we expected to have coming in here. I was very impressed with Cedarville’s defense. Scouting them we thought there was some things we could take advantage of, but they weren’t there tonight.”
Koning scored 16 and Ramey 15 to lead the Indians. Forwards Hunter Baldwin and Caleb McKinion combined for 11 points and gave the Indians several second chances with offensive rebounds.
“A lot of guys try to take away Colby, and we needed other guys to step up like Isaiah and Caleb McKinion and Hunter Baldwin,” Koning said.
Fulk saw it the same way.
“You’ve got to limit their role guys from getting offensive rebounds and putbacks and kickout threes,” he said. “We just didn’t do a good enough job, so we didn’t deserve to win.”
Rhett Burtch led the Rams with 17 points, Cole Allen had 12 and Gabe Caudill 10. But the Indians held the Rams’ big three to a collective eight points below their average. And only one other player scored.
“It’s the defensive end that we thought was going to push us to reach the goals that we want to reach,” Godlove said, “and tonight I thought that showed.”
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