The Lady Tigers knew they had to play a nearly perfect game to beat the #1 ranked Crusaders from Maranatha on Saturday. For a while in the first half, it appeared they might be up for it as they played solid defense and got some good open looks in their offense in the opening 10 minutes of the game. A late three-point shooting barrage by Maranatha’s All-American guard Autumn Peotter and some missed shots by the Tigers sent the Grace team into the locker room with a 35-23 deficit. The Tigers did a fine job of containing Maranatha’s inside game, but the Crusaders shot 7 of 12 from beyond the arc in the opening frame.
Turnovers plagued the Lady Tigers in the second half as Maranatha extended their lead, much of which came on fast break points after Grace miscues. Grace actually shot one of their better percentages of the season (44%) but 26 turnovers against the Crusader defense was too much to overcome.
Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) led the Lady Tiger scorers with 15 points. Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) and Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) each added seven, while Brittany Summerfield (Forest Hills Northern) and Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) each chipped in with six points.
“Maranatha is a very good team”, Coach Renzema said after the game. “They have been to the championship game the last two years with the exact same starting five and I think this is the year they can get it done. We did a good job of containing their inside game, but they hit their three point shots and that is why they are such a good team.”
“I am very proud of this year’s team. These girls are just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential. We need to learn how to play with more consistency and work on our shooting and reducing our turnovers, but they always give a good effort and that is a great place to start.”
The Lady Tigers finished with a 14-15 record.