“Our guys have worked so hard since last year to get back to this place for this same game,” said Indians coach Ryan Godlove. “Not very often do you get the chance to have redemption like this and for our guys, it was a chance to rewrite last year’s story. The guys played their butts off. They kept fighting.”
Jackson Center led 12-7 after one quarter and extended its lead to 21-11 on four straight points by Aidan Reichert with 5:32 remaining.
Koning scored four straight points to cut the lead to six points, but a 3-pointer by Carson Regula gave the Tigers a 28-19 lead at the break. Koning scored 10 points in the second quarter.
“We thought he had some good looks, he just wasn’t finishing,” Godlove said. “We felt like those were shots we should be making. We felt like we played pretty good defense on Jackson Center, we just thought they were hitting really tough shots.”
Cedarville High School senior Trent Koning drives past Jackson Center sophomore Camdyn Reese during their Division IV district final game on Saturday afternoon at the Vandalia Butler Student Activity Center. Koning scored a career-high 30 points as the Indians won their first district championship since 2005. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
Credit: Michael Cooper
Credit: Michael Cooper
In the second quarter, Koning and the Indians started making shots. Cedarville started the second half on a 19-8 running, grabbing the lead on an old-fashioned three-point play by Koning with 2:47 remaining. Another Koning layup gave Cedarville a 42-39 lead after three quarters. The senior scored 15 of his team’s 24 points in the quarter.
“In the second half, things just started opening up,” Koning said. “Because of what my teammates were doing in the first half, they were spreading the floor for me to drive. I just made the layups, they were doing all the tough work on the defensive end. All credit goes to them.”
The Tigers reclaimed the lead at 48-44 on five straight points by Regula, but Cedarville senior Isaiah Ramey hit a 3-pointer to cut their lead to one point and Koning hit a 3-pointer to give the Indians the lead for good.
The Tigers had a shot to tie the game with 18.5 seconds remaining, but his shot fell short and Cedarville’s Hunter Baldwin grabbed the rebound.
Jackson Center got the ball back with less than 10 seconds remaining, but Baldwin grabbed the loose ball and called timeout, sealing the victory for Cedarville.
“I can’t say enough about this group of guys and the time and effort they’ve put in,” Godlove said. “For them to see it all come together and win, I’m excited for them, the program and our community.”
The Indians advanced to play unbeaten Tri-Village (25-0) in a D-III regional semifinal game at 8 p.m. Tuesday night at Vandalia.
“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about it,” Godlove said. “Everything we’ve been worried about was getting ready for this game right here. Now, we’ve got 48 hours to get ready for them. We know they’re a great team and we’ll do everything we can to get ready.”