It was a game that couldn’t have been scripted any better for Coach Bailey and the Tigers in Thursday’s 102-76 win over Southwest Region champion Hillsdale. Grace dominated the first half in every phase of the game, played all 18 players in the second half, and minimized the minutes for the starters keeping them fresh and healthy for Friday’s Final Four contest. The Tigers kept the Saints off balance by mixing defenses, dominating the rebound battle, and scoring with everyone as Grace built a 24 point lead at the half, 56-32. The Tigers stretched the lead to 33 points early in the second half before Bailey began emptying his bench.
The Tigers put 16 players in the scoring column. Senior Matt Kurtz (Lowell) led the Tiger scoring with 18, junior Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) had 16, senior John Oostema (Grand Rapids Christian) scored 12, and junior Ryan Dame (Wayland) had 10 including three monster dunks. Senior Ryan Krombeen was the CCSN Player of the Game with 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocked shots and 9 points.
“We felt like we had a good game plan coming in and it actually worked better than we expected,” said Coach Bailey. “We were able to get some valuable tournament experience for our freshmen and keep our starters healthy because of that big first half.”
Grace will meet the winner of Ohio Christian University v. Trinity tomorrow at 6 PM CST for the opportunity to reach their fourth consecutive championship game.