Grace will be playing in their fourth consecutive NCCAA II National Championship game on Saturday at 6 pm CST following a convincing win over an excellent Ohio Christian University team on Friday night in Springfield, MO.
The Tigers never trailed the Trailblazers as they built a 12 point lead at the half, 33-21. They extended the lead to 24 in the second half in notching their 24th win of the year with stifling defense, holding OCU’s leading scorer, Tirrell Cumberland, to 2 points on 1/11 shooting and 0/7 from behind the arc. Assistant Coach Dan George was exhultant about the defensive effort. “This was one of the best defensive games we have played in the seven years I’ve worked with Coach Bailey here. I am so proud of these guys.” The Tigers won the battle of the boards, 43-38, despite 23 offensive rebounds by the rugged front line of OCU. But the most glaring statistical difference was Grace shooting 48% (24/50) to the Trailblazers’ 25% (18/72).
Head Coach Gary Bailey also had high praise for his team. “The guys are as hungry as any team I have coached. This group is playing extremely well and I have no doubt we will give a good effort tomorrow.”
The Tigers were lead by junior Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) with 18 points on 7/12 shooting and 8 rebounds, and senior captain Cory Jamieson (Wayland), also with 18 points on 7/8 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jamieson’s floor leadership under constant OCU pressure also earned him CCSN Player of the Game honors. Ryan Krombeen contributed 11 rebounds and 6 assists, and Ryan Dame had 6 rebounds.
The Tigers will meet the winner of the Valley Forge / Central Bible game for the championship. At the time of this printing Valley Forge led at the half, 48-30.