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.
#2 Valley Forge put the Tigers away Friday night with a game finishing run of 24-7 and did what no Patriot team had done in the eight year tenure of Coach Gary Bailey at Grace — they beat the Tigers.
A little history lesson for those who may have just started following the Tigers this year….
These two schools have been the most successful programs in the NCCAA II over the last several years. Grace won four consecutive National Championships from 2009-2012. In three of those years they had to defeat an always tough Valley Forge team to win the championship game. Patriot Coach, John Mack, one of the most respected coaches in the NCCAA, was named NCCAA II National Coach of the Year in two of those years and Gary Bailey received the same honor in one of those years. The two teams have a great bond, despite their rivalry, and they have high respect for each other. But both teams brought question marks to this season and this regular season game. Both teams had graduated talented senior leadership in 2012 and both came into this game with rosters laden with underclassmen. The Patriots, always athletic and tough, physical defenders, were the better team on this night as they forced the Tigers into 22 turnovers and worked patiently for high percentage shots.
There were bright spots for the Tigers. After trailing at the half by three, 34-31, Grace charged out of the gate in the second half with a 7-0 run to take the lead 38-34, but the Patriots called a timeout and cranked up the pressure to come back and take a 47-44 lead with about 10 minutes to go. B J Van Loo hit a three to tie the game at 47 and the Tigers briefly took a 49-48 lead, their final lead of the night at about the 8 minute mark. From there it was all Valley Forge.
The Tigers again dominated the boards, 37-21, with Aaron Schutte and Cameron Cramer leading Grace with 8 each. Nick Mascorro led the Tiger scoring with 13. B J Van Loo added 12 points and Greg Salmon had 11. Aaron Schutte led the Tigers with 5 assists. But poor shooting, with a lot of missed shots in the paint, and turnovers doomed the Tigers. The Patriots had only 10 turnovers to the Tigers’ 22.
The Tigers will have little time to lick their wounds. They face Moody Bible Institute, an always tough regional opponent, on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm at the Aldrich Center.
The Tigers won their fifth consecutive game Saturday afternoon at home against Silver Lake College, 77-57, featuring senior Zach Schutte’s 1,000th point of his career. “I wouldn’t say we’re where we want to be at regional tournament time,” said Coach Bailey after the game, “but we’re getting there.”
The Tigers looked like they were going to put the game away early but Silver Lake kept chipping back each time the Tigers built a lead. Grace led at the half by only four, 31-27, as inconsistent defense and poor shooting on their part kept Silver Lake in the game. The second half was a different story as the Tigers shot selection improved dramatically and they made 17 of 28 attempts from the field at a 61% clip. There were no big runs but Grace steadily built the lead in the second half to the winning margin as Bailey used various combinations of lineups and played every player significant minutes. The Tigers again dominated the boards, 50-32, and had 28 assists to Silver Lake’s 12.
Schutte had a solid game en route to becoming the 23rd player in Grace history to score 1,000. With 22 points on 60% shooting from the field and 80% shooting from the charity stripe, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists he led or tied the Tigers in every category for the game. With only a couple minutes left in the game, Schutte entered the Grace record book as he took a pass from Nick Van Loo on a hard cut to the basket and finished strong as he made the bucket and was fouled. Coach Bailey immediately called time to give the Tiger fans the opportunity to recognize Zach for his accomplishment of 1,000 career points. Cameron Cramer also had 9 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench to tie Schutte in those categories. Cramer also impressed the coaching staff with his leadership in directing the defense in the second half. Aaron Schutte joined his brother in double figures with 12 points.
It was also Senior Night as seniors Greg Salmon and the Schutte brothers, Aaron and Zach were honored, along with their parents. Each senior was given a framed game jersey as a momento.
The Tigers face a stiff challenge in their next game as they face #2 Valley Forge Christian College at home next Friday, February 1, at 7 pm.
The rivalry lived up to its billing as the Cougers of Kuyper College and the Tigers of Grace gave their fans their money’s worth in Tuesday night’s Cross Cup Game played at the Aldrich Athletic Center. When the last buzzer sounded the Tigers had come away with the Cross Cup trophy and a thrilling overtime victory, 76-70.
Both teams seemed stymied by the other’s defense for much of the first half. Coach Bailey received excellent play from his bench in the first half, highlighted by the rebounding of Nick Van Loo and Cameron Cramer, and a high flying, thunderous dunk by Travis Rader over the Cougers’ Mike Kragt (see video below). The Cougers, however, led at the break, 29-27.
The Tigers broke out well to start the second half, taking back the lead and going up by five, but they could never put the Cougers away. Kuyper found holes in the Tiger defense and eventually took the lead with about a minute and a half to play. With things looking bleak for the Tigers, sophomore Cameron Cramer hit nothing but net on a long three pointer to tie the game at 60 with 7.4 seconds left in regulation. The Tigers carried the emotion and momentum of Cramer’s shot into the overtime period, which they dominated at both ends of the court.
Cramer had a career game for the Tigers, coming off the bench and scoring a double/double with 27 points (leading all scorers) and 12 rebounds. It was the Tiger bench of Cramer, Rader, Nick Van Loo, Brad Rosenzweig, and Michael Miller that made the difference in the game for Coach Bailey as they outscored the starting five, 39-37, and outscored the Couger bench, 39-7. The Tigers dominated the boards, 61-38, as senior Greg Salmon led both teams with 13 rebounds. You can read the Mlive Press coverage here:
The Tigers are at home for Senior Day this Saturday as they hope to move to .500 on the season when they take on Silver Lake College at 4 pm.
As read on Mlive:
See thunderous dunk by Grace Bible player that landed on Sports Center
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grace Bible’s rivalry game against Kuyper College on Tuesday got more exposure than expected, thanks to a dunk by the Tigers’ Travis Rader.
Rader, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Wayland High School, soared over a defender for a thunderous left-handed dunk that was featured Wednesday night and today on Sports Center’s plays of the day.
The dunk came in the first half following a turnover.
“I saw the open space,” Rader said, after receiving a skip pass from teammate Nick VanLoo, “and I knew I was going to dunk and my heart started racing. When I jumped, I don’t know, it just felt like I was flying.”
Rader had two previous dunks this season, “but nothing like this,” he said. “My phone’s just been blowing up today.”
Grace won the game in overtime 76-70.
Last night, Rader tweeted:
“# 4 on Sports Center top 10?!?! This is the peak! Letssss goooo!!!! Thanks everyone for the support!!! Dream come true!”
Grace traveled 400 miles Friday morning and early afternoon to Louisville, KY for a game against Boyce College Friday night. The Tigers had never played the Bulldogs before and they had limited scouting information to prepare for the game. Missing two starters for this trip and having two others who play significant minutes nursing injuries, the Tigers jumped off to a quick start building a 23-8 lead early. Trying to conserve the stamina of his patchwork starting lineup, Coach Gary Bailey went deep into his bench at that point and played 12 Tigers in the first half. The Tigers held a 35-28 lead at the break.
Sophomore Jake Blauwkamp, who contributed 8 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals off the bench in the first half went down with a knee injury on the first trip down the floor in the second half and was done for the night. “I’m proud of the way our guys stepped up tonight to overcome missing and injured players,” said Coach Bailey. “Our game plan was to execute the ball movement on offense that we worked on all week in practice. The guys did a good job of that tonight.”
The Tigers built the lead to as much as 19 in the second half. Bailey again went to his bench and played every player significant minutes as the Tigers came away with a solid win.
Senior Zach Schutte led the Tigers in scoring with 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field including 3 for 4 on three pointers. Fellow senior Greg Salmon added 21 points on 6 of 10 shooting. He also was 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. Salmon led the Tigers in rebounds with 11. Grace won the battle of the boards over the Bulldogs, 42-32.
The Tigers return to play at home on Tuesday, January 22 for the Cross Cup game against cross town rival Kuyper College at 7 pm.
The Tigers returned to action at home on Tuesday night and turned in a solid defensive effort against regional foe, Great Lakes Christian College, coming away with a 77-61 victory and improving their season record to 9-12. Grace held the Crusaders to 24 first half points and led by 15 at the break, but some sloppy offensive play by the Tigers early in the second half let Great Lakes claw their way back to within three points. Coach Bailey inserted his starters back into the lineup and the Tigers gradually built their lead back up to 21 points with better decision making and excellent free throw shooting.
Sophomore Cameron Cramer came off the bench and led the Tigers with 17 points. Zach Schutte with 14, Nick Mascorro with 11, and Aaron Schutte with 10 were the other Tigers in double figure scoring. Aaron Schutte led Grace with 8 rebounds as the Tigers held a 38-31 advantage in that department. Zach Schutte led the team with five assists. The Tigers played without Travis Rader and Jake Blauwkamp who suffered injuries in practice the night before. They will be re-evaluated by the trainer before this weekends game at Boyce College.
The Tigers held the Crusaders to 34% shooting from the field and 26% from the free throw line. “I thought our zone defense looked good tonight, especially in the first half,” said Assistant Coach Dan George. Grace had one of their best free throw nights of the season, going 19 for 22 (86%), and they also shot well from the field at 50% (27/54).
The Tigers travel to Louisville, Kentucky on Friday night for a 7 pm contest against Boyce College. They will be back home a week from tonight on Tuesday, January 22 at 7 pm to take on regional and cross town rival, Kuyper College.
The Tigers completed their Florida trip with a victory over Multnomah University, but it was a nail biter down to the last seconds. In a game which featured fourteen lead changes, the Tigers blew an early sixteen point lead and trailed by as many as twelve points. The Lions of Multnomah controlled the pace for much of the game as they lofted 68 three pointers and made 26 of them for a 38% clip from behind the arc. In spite of the pace and the Lions incredible shooting, the Tigers showed resolve in fighting back each time they went down to pull out the win.
The Lions’ Austin Hodges put on an incredible shooting display, sinking 12 of 22 three pointers, several from the 30 foot range. “I have never seen anything like that at any level,” said Tiger Coach Gary Bailey. “To shoot and make that many threes from that distance is incredible.” Hodges was 18/36 overall from the field and finished with a jaw dropping 50 points.
Senior Zach Schutte led five Tigers in double figures with 31 points on 12/19 shooting from the field including one three pointer. He was also 6 for 7 from the charity stripe. B J Van Loo 17, Jake Blauwkamp 13, Nick Van Loo 11, and Aaron Schutte 10 all finished in double figures. B J Van Loo with 13 and Zach Schutte with 9 led a dominant rebound performance by the Tigers (63-31) which they needed to overcome the Lions three point shooting. Zach and Aaron Schutte led the team with 4 assists each.
The Tigers wish to express appreciation for all the Grace alumni, families and friends who travelled from Michigan and various parts of Florida to support the Tigers at the Florida games. Grace is back home in the Aldrich Athletic Center on Tuesday, January 15 at 7 pm against Great Lakes Christian College.
The weather was warm in Kissimmee, FL but the Tigers cold shooting cost them an opportunity to gain some momentum in the second half of the season. Nick Mascorro’s 19 points and Greg Salmon’s 10 points were not enough to lead the Tigers to a second straight win in the Florida Christian College Tournament. The Tigers connected on only 1 for 18 shots from behind the arc and 35% from the floor while FCC hit 46% of their shots from both sides of the arc.
“I don’t think I have seen a team in my eight years here shoot so poorly,” said Gary Bailey. “Not only were we missing the rim on our three’s but we must have missed a dozen shots from six feet and in. We held a very good offensive team to 71 points on their home floor tonight.” The Suns jumped out early but the Tigers battled back from a 14 point deficit to get it to two points only to see FCC extend the lead to six at the half. The Tigers and Suns would keep it close throughout the second half but poor free throw shooting by the Tigers and having to run a hurry up offense that was unproductive allowed the Suns to extend the lead to as many as 15.
The Tigers held the advantage in rebounds 42-40 and had 14 offensive rebounds but had a season low of only 6 assists for the game.
The Tigers will take on Multnomah University at 9:30 am on Saturday morning. Multnomah defeated Trinity College earlier in the night where they shot 84 three pointers in the game.
The team’s Friday morning consisted of sleeping in and going to breakfast at the latest possible minute. Most sat outside eating while a photography class stood by the pool and snapped pictures of Aaron Schutte because he once again forgot his shirt. The coaches on the other hand were golfing in the warm Florida sun. Coach Bailey had to make a quick stop at the local sporting goods store to buy more golf balls because he lost 11 out on the course! We had the rest of the day open until 3 o clock. Most of us spent our last hours in the sun sitting by the pool playing ukulele while Paul provided entertainment for everyone. Then the team went out to the BK lounge for lunch and waited for our afternoon “Champions to the Core.” President Kemper shared what was on his heart during today’s “Champions” by challenging us to develop the right type of character. Then we rode the bus to Florida Christian for our second game. We dug ourselves in a big hole but managed to chip back to being down by 6 at half. It ended up being a tough loss but we will grow from it. After the game we stuffed ourselves with pizza at CiCi’s for the last time. We are all excited to get a second chance to prove ourselves in tommorrow’s game. We feel fortunate to have another great day to play and become better players together as a team.