(ASHLAND, Ohio) – Walsh became the second No. 8 seed to advance to the GLIAC Tournament Championship with an impressive 98-69 victory over Hillsdale in the semifinals at Kates Gymnasium Saturday night. Three Cavaliers (16-12) scored at least 24 points in the win that snapped the Chargers (18-10) six-game win streak.
The Cavaliers were superb on all areas of the court with their best shooting night of the year and limited the Chargers to have one of their worst. Walsh was 35-of-56 overall from the floor for 62.5 percent. That number was even more spectacular in the second half as the Cavaliers were 17-of-25 for 68 percent.
To take it a step further, the Cavs were figuratively on fire from behind the arc with 17 3-pointers, one shy of the GLIAC Tournament single game record.
The bulk of those came from Jesse Hardin Jr. (Sr., Warren, Ohio/Harding), who 8-of-12 overall with all shots taken behind the arc. He now has 15 in the tournament to tie the tournament record. Hardin Jr. finished with 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. With his third 3-pointer, he passed Brandon Speck to set the school record for most in a single season.
Then there was Zac Carter (Jr., Ironton, Ohio/Ironton) who barely missed and scored a game-high 28 points. He was 11-of-13 overall, made all four of his triples, and made both free throws he attempted. Carter also distributed the ball well with six assists.
As if that wasn't enough, Trey Fletcher (Jr., Ironton, Ohio/Ironton) was a force with fifth double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He was 8-of-16 from the field, 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, and added four assists.
Overall Walsh out-rebounded Hillsdale 38-29.
The first four minutes of the game gave a good indication how the rest of the night would play out for the Cavaliers. Chall Montgomery (Jr., Cleveland, Ohio/Central Catholic/Navy) tied the game with a triple for Walsh's first points, Hardin Jr. then scored his first to take a 6-3 lead, and Carter followed with one of his own to give Walsh a 9-6 lead. Jumpers by Fletcher and Carter then gave the Cavs a 13-6 just 3:54 into the game.
When Carter scored on a jumper with 5:27 to go in the first half, it put Walsh up 33-22. The Cavs led by double-digits the rest of the way.
Walsh now moves on to its first conference tournament championship game since the 2010-11 season tomorrow against Ferris State. Tip-off with the No. 6-seeded Bulldogs is set for 4 p.m.