Key 3’s help West Liberty Salem overcome Cedarville


Editor’s note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.

CEDARVILLE — The top of the Ohio Heritage Conference standings are in a midseason logjam.

West Liberty Salem gutted out a 63-59 win at Cedarville Tuesday in an emotional contest that had players energized and fans on their feet in the final minutes.

The Tigers blew a 14-point halftime lead and trailed by four with under two minutes left. A pair of threes by Isaiah Reames, the second coming with 45 seconds remaining, capped a great team shooting night from beyond the arc that propelled them to the road win.

WLS made nine shots from deep, including four in the first quarter to pull ahead by nine early.

West Liberty Salem was only 12 of 21 from the free throw line, but six were crucial points in determining the outcome. Four of the points came off of two technical fouls called against Cedarville following made baskets while the team transitioned to the defensive end. The other two were both scored on shooting fouls with the clock at zero at the end of the first and third quarters.

“There’s some things that we need to clean up that I felt like we let our emotions get the best of us, but at the same time I was proud of our guys being able to move on to the next play,” Cedarville head coach Ryan Godlove said.

Cedarville (10-2) started the second half with a 17-0 run to grab a 37-34 lead, fueled by several baskets by Kyle Orchard and Tyler Cross, to get back in the game and overcome a poor shooting performance in the first and second quarters.

West Liberty Salem was able to end the run and grab the lead again in a back and forth end to the quarter over the final three minutes to go up 44-43.

“We complimented them on their fight,” Godlove said of his players. “I felt like the fact that we were down 14 at the half and to make a big run, usually we tell our guys its one possession at a time and we don’t have a 14-point play, but we got off to a quick start in the second half and went on a 14-point run and I was proud of the effort instead of putting their heads down.”

Cross picked up his fifth foul less than 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, meaning Nathan Van Loo had to run the offense for the first time this season during meaningful minutes, according to Godlove. Orchard picked up the offense in scoring a career-high 23 points and made consecutive baskets to lead the Indians to a 50-46 advantage with four minutes remaining.

After Reames’ three to give WLS the lead late, Cedarville turned the ball over after a timeout which lead to a pair of WLS free throws. Up four with 20 seconds left, Cedarville’s last chance to get close saw a long attempt from three come up short of the rim.

“Out defense improved a lot in the second half and the energy was a lot better than how we started,” Godlove said. “It’s nice to see us pick up those things and keep fighting to put ourselves in an opportunity to win.”

WLS has now beaten both of the other two one-loss teams in the OHC, having already defeated Fairbanks earlier this season, and all three teams now sit at 7-1 in the league standings.

Brevin Louden had 21 points to lead the Tigers in scoring, and Taran Logwood had 11 after coming in as the league’s second leading scorer.

Cross scored 14 for Cedarville, and Johnson added 11.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

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