The three seniors on this year’s Tiger squad have accomplished a lot in their careers at Grace. They can add one more to the list as the Lady Tigers advanced to the Midwest Regional Finals for the first time in four years after a 63-47 win over Moody Bible Institute on Friday night at Watertown, Wisconsin.
The prospects for the Tigers were not looking very good out of the gate as they struggled offensively, going scoreless for the first five minutes of the game. Fortunately, the Lady Tigers were playing solid defense of their own and the largest defecit they faced was seven at 11-4. The Tigers forced the much taller Archers from Moody away from the basket and forced them to shoot mid to long range jump shots, most of which missed the mark. Grace went into the intermission with a slim 23-21 lead.
Grace came out in the second half and continuted the dominant defense, but also started to use their quickness advantage in the post. The Tigers took their first double digit lead with about 10 minutes left in the game and were able to maintain it for most of the remainder of the game. Strong free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the victory.
Jessica Sikorski led the Tigers once again with a stellar 25 points and 15 rebounds. Kerie Rudd contributed a solid 14 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Kerie was perfect in her eight free throw attempts. Stephanie Miller played a very efficient game, scoring 14 points on six of seven shooting from the field, including two from beyond the arc. Naomi Walker scored four points, including a huge steal and driving layup early in the 2nd half to shift the momentum toward the Tigers. Marissa Pelletier also added four points. Grace was a sparkling 17-22 from the free throw line and outrebounded the much taller Archers 47 to 41.
“We talked about rebounding being the key to this game”, Coach Renzema commented after the game. “We knew if we gave them second shots that we would be in trouble. Our defense was spectacular tonight and we made them shoot the shots we wanted them to have to take. All of the girls were really good on defense tonight. I am really proud of the effort. We have a tremendous challenge ahead of us against Maranatha, but we really wanted to get to the final to see how we measure up.”
The Lady Tigers will play for the Midwest Regional Championship at Maranatha on Saturday at 1 PM Central.