The Tigers finished off their fifth consecutive regional title with a victory over the team that ended their 69 game NCCAA II winning streak in January, the current #1 ranked Kuyper Cougars. The win came in like fashion to Thursday’s win over Lincoln Christian and Friday’s win over Maranatha with stifling defense, dominant rebounding, and unselfish offense. Grace never trailed the Cougars, as they led by 13 at the half (37-24), stretched the lead to as much as 19 late in the game (57-38), and coasted to the nine point win as Coach Bailey gave finishing minutes to his bench.
Matt Kurtz (Lowell) led the Tigers with 22 points, Ryan Krombeen (Calvin Christian) scored 16, and John Oostema (Grand Rapids Christian) had 10. Cory Jamieson (Wayland) provided his usual stellar leadership at the point and led the team with 5 assists. Krombeen played outstanding defense in the post and led both teams with 10 rebounds as the Tigers held a 33-25 advantage on the boards . “This is one of the best defensive games we have played all year,” said Assistant Coach Dan George. “The guys again did exactly what we asked of them.”
Coach Bailey was more than pleased with the play in this tournament. “We feel like we are going into the national tournament playing our best basketball,” said Bailey. “The nice thing is that I think we can still be better.”
The Tigers have now beaten all of the top ranked teams in the country that they have played – Kuyper, Valley Forge Christian (twice), Ohio Christian University, Florida Christian College, Clearwater Christian College. It is likely all of those teams will make an appearance at the national tournament.
The Tigers will find out on Sunday what the seedings for the national tournament will be and they will be published here as soon as they are released.