Grand Rapids – The Tigers ended their season with an 87-80 loss to rival Kuyper College on Friday night ending an eight year streak of making it to the National Tournament.
The Tigers opened the game strong to take a nine point lead early only to watch the Cougars claw back to take a 39-35 lead at the half. Grace’s Nick Van Loo hit a three just before the half or the damage could have been even worse. The Tigers came out of the locker room sluggish and Kuyper scored the first seven points of the half to go up by eleven. They would extend the lead by as many as 15 only to see Grace come charging back to take a one point lead with just under nine minutes to play. Free throw shooting came into play in the game with Kuyper connecting on 25 of 27 from the line compared to Grace’s 14 for 24.
“We had a game plan going into tonight’s game and we did not do a good job of staying with that,” said Gary Bailey. “Our goal was to get it inside right out of the gate and continue to go to our strength. Our first trip was good and we got it inside but missed the lay up and our next two trips we shot three’s. Our players were reminded at the half to push the ball and get it inside in transition and we just never stayed with it. Give Kuyper credit, they took advantage of all of our mistakes and hit a lot of shots.” Kuyper was led by Andy DeKam’s 29 points points including 4 of 7 from three. Alex Rogers had 18, Omar Haynes, Mike Kragt, and Sal Hermiz each had 11.
The Tigers were led by Zach Schutte with 20 points. Travis Rader and Nick Mascorro each scored 12. BJ VanLoo scored 11 points and had a team high 10 rebounds. Michael Miller had 6 assists for the Tigers.
The Tigers say goodbye to Seniors Zach Schutte, Aaron Schutte, and Greg Salmon.
Grace fans may have been wondering which Tiger team would show up in tonight’s regional tournament opener against Lincoln Christian after the way they finished the regular season. Two losses to end the season is not the way Coach Bailey wanted to head into tournament play but three days of solid practice effort boosted the coaching staff’s confidence. “I was pleased with how we practiced this week,” said Bailey, “and I was confident we would come out with maximum effort tonight. The guys did not disappoint.”
The Tigers relentlessly pounded the ball into the post on offense, played excellent interior defense, pushed the ball in transition, dominated the rebound department with a 54-29 margin, and won the turnover battle….fulfilling everything on the coaches wish list for the game. The Tigers built a lead of as many as 15 in the first half as Bailey went deep into his bench early. Grace shot 56% from the field in the second half and won pulling away.
Zach Schutte lead all scorers with 23 and contributed 8 rebounds. B J VanLoo also had 8 rebounds to go with his 9 points and a season high 5 blocked shots. Greg Salmon led the team in assists with 7 and tied Cameron Cramer for the game high in rebounds with 9. Cramer also had 4 assists. Bailey got solid play from his bench as they outscored the Red Lion bench, 35-23. Bailey played every player 5 or more minutes.
Seniors Aaron Schutte and Greg Salmon raised the crowd excitement level with a couple of two handed dunks, Schutte’s on a follow up to Nick Mascorro’s missed fast break layup attempt and Salmon’s on a steal and breakaway dribble the length of the floor. Then came Travis Rader’s high flying one handed jam over a Lincoln defender off a fast break assist from Michael Miller, bringing back memories for Tiger fans of a similar Rader dunk against Kuyper College in January that landed on ESPN’s Top Ten Plays. Many in the crowd thought this one was even better. You can watch all three dunks in the video below.
The Tigers will play Kuyper College for the third time this season on Friday night at 8 pm. The winner will face the victor of the 6 pm game between Northland International University and Maranatha Baptist Bible College in the regional championship game on Saturday at 3 pm.
Alex Rogers led a balanced Kuyper attack as the Cougars came from behind to defeat the Archers of Moody Bible. Omar Haynes scored 19, CJ Bussey 12, and Mike Kragt 10 for Kuyper. Audel Bewley led Kuyper with 11 rebounds and Alex Rogers with 6 assists.
Moody led 41-38 at the half in a game that featured numerous lead changes in the second half. Jacob Crabtree led the Archers with 25 points. Steve Harrison added 19 and Josiah Busenitz 18. Harrison also dished out 8 assists. Evan Clark pulled down 11 boards for MBI.
Kuyper will play the winner of Grace Bible and Lincoln Christian. Game time will depend on the outcome.
#4 seed Maranatha Baptist Bible College beat #5 seed Great Lakes Christian College 84-80 in the opening round of the NCCAA Midwest Regional. All five starters for Maranatha landed in double figures with Matt Hunter with 17, Tanner Moses 16, Brett Cashner 15, Joel Borchardt 12, and Matthew McGivern 11. Joel Borchardt pulled down 12 rebounds.
Kyle Downing led Great Lakes with 23 points followed by Devlin Jefferson with 19 and Maurice Jordan 15. Troy Aubrey handed out 13 assists and Maurice Jordan had 10 rebounds for the Crusaders. Great Lakes finishes it’s season at 3-28.
Maranatha will take on their rival #1 seed Northland International University tomorrow in the semi-finals.
The Tigers completed their regular season Saturday afternoon at 15-15 with a loss to Silver Lake College, 63-56. Cold shooting again plagued the Tigers as they shot only 31% from the field and 24% from behind the arc against the Lakers.
The Tigers trailed at the half by 8 and were down by as many as 11 twice in the second half but they came back to take the lead by 4 with a little under four minutes remaining. But the shooting went cold down the stretch, combined with a couple of turnovers, a couple of fouls converted to four free throws by the Lakers, and the Tigers suffered their second consecutive loss to end the season.
“There were a lot of positives to take from this game,” said Coach Gary Bailey. “The guys gave great effort and energy with positive attitudes in the face of some challenging moments on the court.”
The Tigers will be at home on Thursday, February 21 at 8 pm for the first round of the Midwest Regional Tournament where they will be the #2 seed and face #7 seed Lincoln Christian University.
The Tigers blew a five point halftime lead Friday night, went down by five, then came back to lead midway through the second half, and eventually succumbed to the Pioneers late run and their own poor second half shooting (29%). Northland head coach, Pete Wehry, longtime friend of the Grace coaching staff, enjoyed his first win against the Tigers after two overtime losses in the two most recent games played on the Pioneer floor prior to tonight.
“It is never easy to play Northland on their floor,” said Coach Bailey, “and we knew a five point lead was not safe against this team. We made things more difficult with this loss for our journey to post season play but we’ll go back to work tomorrow against Silver Lake and try to figure out what went wrong tonight. I was pleased with our effort for much of the night but we had lapses that you can’t afford to have against a good team like this. It’s frustrating to lose a winnable game like this because we have had too many of them this season.”
Greg Salmon led the Tiger scoring with 12 and Jake Blauwkamp was the only other Tiger in double figures as he came off the bench to score 11 points. Zach Schutte led the Tigers with 7 rebounds. Three other Tigers, Nick Mascorro, Aaron Schutte, and Travis Rader, had 6 boards each.
It was announced that tonight’s game was Coach Wehry’s last game on Northland’s home court as he will be leaving Northland after this season to accept another position in Christian ministry. The Grace coaching staff wishes him well in his new endeavors.
The Tigers complete their regular season schedule Saturday afternoon at Silver Lake College and they will play their first game in the Midwest Regional Tournament on Thursday, February 21 at 8 pm on their home floor against an opponent yet to be determined. Tournament details will be posted on this website no later than Monday.
Grace won their 15th game of the season and their 8th victory in the last 9 games as they downed cross town rival Kuyper College Tuesday night on the Cougers’ home court. It was the Tigers’ best offensive game of the year as they dominated the post featuring 18 points each from the Schutte brothers, Aaron and Zach. “We moved the ball well most of the time tonight,” said Coach Gary Bailey, “and we definitely did a better job of taking care of the ball than we have in many games this year.” 17 offensive rebounds and 52% shooting from the field also contributed to the Tiger offense.
Defensively the Tigers followed the game plan. “We know they have some great outside shooters,” said Coach Dan George, “and we knew they would make some threes, but our goal was to stop their penetration, limit them to one highly contested shot, and make that come from outside the paint. I thought we did a good job at that, especially in the first half.”
The rebound margin was a big factor in the win as the Tigers had as many offensive boards as Kuyper had defensive rebounds. The Tigers pulled down 50% of the boards on the Cougers’ end of the floor and 83% on their own glass for a 42-22 margin. Greg Salmon led the Tigers with 10 rebounds. Salmon’s 12 points and Brad Rosenzweig’s 10 points off the bench joined the Schutte brothers in double figures.
The Tigers showed great unselfish play as three players, Jake Blauwkamp, Nick Mascorro, and Aaron Schutte, shared the assist leadership with 4 each.
The Tigers appear to be making their usual late season charge as Coach Bailey readies his team for tournament play. Their next game, and last regional contest of the regular season, is on Friday at Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin. A win there would give the Tigers the #1 seed in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament which they host at the Aldrich Center beginning Thursday, February 21.
Lansing, MI – The Tigers played a very tough Great Lakes Christian College team and came away with a solid 72-67 victory. Zach Schutte led all scorers with 19 points. Cameron Cramer led Grace with 9 rebounds. Three other Tigers hit double figures with Aaron Schutte and Nick Mascorro hitting for 14 and BJ VanLoo 10.
The Tigers led 31-28 at the half but came out strong in the opening minutes of the second half and opened up an eleven point lead. A few costly turnovers and GLCC was right back in it. The game remained close throughout the second half as both teams hit timely shots. Great Lakes had a 24-15 attempt advantage from the charity stripe connecting on 15 to the Tigers 10. The rebounding battle was a draw with both teams collecting 34 boards.
Grace now stands at 14-13 on the season.
Grace will be off until February 12th when they travel across town to face Kuyper College. Grace stole a victory from Kuyper two weeks ago when they hit a late three and sent the game into overtime with Grace winning that game 76-70.
The Tigers have three games remaining in the regular season before hosting the 2013 NCCAA II Midwest Regional Tournament at the Aldrich Center on February 21-23.
The Tigers knew they had to come back strong for today’s regional contest against Moody Bible Institute after losing last night to #2 Valley Forge. “Every regional game is crucial for seeding in the regional tournament at the end of the year,” commented Coach Gary Bailey. “We know Moody always plays us tough and we couldn’t take this game for granted.”
Coach Bailey shook up the starting lineup a bit, bringing his three seniors, who usually start, off the bench. The message of the coaches to their charges this afternoon was “keep it simple.” The game plan worked well after the first three minutes. That first three minutes put a little nervous buzz in the Tiger faithful as the Archers jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the shooting of senior Steve Harrison and some botched defensive rotations by the new Tiger starters. But the Tigers pulled things together and evened the score before they turned to the seniors coming off the bench with 14:06 left in the first half. They brought a lot of energy and some defensive intensity with them as they pushed the Tigers to a lead they never relinquished and they led at the break, 32-25.
The Tigers continued their solid play in the second half and built the lead to 19 at one point. Greg Salmon, Nick Mascorro, Zach Schutte, and Michael Miller all took turns guarding the talented Harrison, who has been a prolific scorer. He did score 21 points but the he was pretty much the Archer offense as the Tigers held him to 8 of 23 from the field and only one rebound.
Bailey played all twelve players significant minutes and eleven of them scored. Brad Rosenzweig and Zach Schutte led the Tigers with 11 points and Cameron Cramer continued to impress the coaches with his solid play with 10 points. Grace again dominated the boards 46-31 as four Tigers led the team with 7 (Rosenzweig, B J Van Loo, Travis Rader, and Lucas McKian).
“This was a solid win for us and we got contributions from everyone,” said Bailey. “I’m hoping we can build on this for the remaining games.” The Tigers face four consecutive road games before returning to Grace to hold the Midwest Regional Tournament.