Cardington rode a 36-point performance by Devin Pearl and a hot shooting day in general to an easy 92-44 win over Shekinah Christian Thursday to advance past sectionals into districts in boys’ basketball.
The Pirates hit 17 three-pointers in the home win and led nearly the entire game. The game was tied at two after one minute of play, but Cardington rolled off five straight points to take the lead and never looked back.
“We’ve been trying to get back to a fast tempo,” said Pirate coach Rod Brown. “Tonight, we were able to do that.”
Cardington’s defense played a big role in that tempo, as they forced numerous turnovers and were able to run their fast break with regularity.
“We had a lot of defense,” said Brown. “We got run-outs and were able to finish at the rim early and kick out and hit threes when we were open.”
Shekinah was able to keep the game close for the first few minutes, only trailing 10-6 with 4:23 remaining in the period. However, the Pirates finished the quarter with a 13-2 run, with Garrett Wagner hitting a pair of long-range shots and Pearl picking up five more points.
Leading 23-8 after eight minutes, Cardington wasted no time in expanding their lead. Despite getting three three-pointers in the first two minutes of the quarter, Shekinah was still outscored 13-9 over that time period thanks to six points by Cody Long. Pearl then added a three-pointer and both Skyler Bowling and Derek Goodman connected from the field to make the score 43-17.
The score was 47-26 at the half after a late Shekinah flurry, but a dominant third quarter in which the Pirates outscored their opponents 28-10. Wagner opened the period with a three-pointer. Shekinah responded with their own long-range shot, but the Pirates quickly tallied nine straight points, seven by Pearl to open up a 30-point lead.
The team added five more three-pointers in the quarter, with Pearl hitting two and Long, Wagner and Goodman all having one, as the team’s lead expanded to a 75-36 margin.
Brown played his full bench in the fourth quarter, but the team still outscored their guests 17-8 over that span to finish on top by 48 points.
“These guys practice hard every day, so it’s nice to be able to get them in,” said Brown of his bench. “What we did at the end with five subs at a time — that’s their teams in practice. When you have eight seniors and it’s their last time on their home court, it’s nice to get them in.”
Pearl hit six three-pointers on his way to a career-best 36 points.
“We were joking with (assistant coach) Riley Thomas that Devon could break his record in his last home game on his 18th birthday,” said Brown. “Devin’s a great kid. Even with 36 points, he was making passes and getting guys open. He’ll go down as one of the greats to play here.”
Wagner and Long both tallied 16 points, with Wagner hitting five three-pointers and Long adding three. Goodman added nine in the win.
Up next for the Pirates, the fifth-seeded team in the Central District for Division IV, will be third-seeded Wellington on Wednesday. While the competition will be tougher, Cardington’s sectional performance gives Brown plenty of confidence in his players.
“I’ve always felt that if we can play our style, we’ll have a chance to play with anyone,” he said. “If we’re shooting well, and we shoot lots of threes, anything can happen.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS