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.
The Lady Tigers overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Lincoln Christian by a final score of 56-47. Some of the same offensive inconsistencies plagued the Lady Tigers in the first half and they went into the half down by six, but they put things together in the second half to pull away for the victory.
Once again, the Lady Tigers received balanced scoring placing four players in double figures. Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) and Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) led the way with 13 points each. Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) tossed in 11 and Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) had 10. Kerie Rudd and Marissa Pelletier led the rebounders with eight apiece as they Tigers won the rebounding battle, 40-35.
“We came out a little sluggish in the first half”, Coach Renzema said after the victory. “Fortunately, we came out in the second half and played really good basketball for the first 10 minutes and we were able to get a decent margin. We went back to our usual man defense and played it very well.”
Grace will take on #1 ranked Maranatha in the semi-final on Friday night at 7 PM.
The Lady Tigers finished out the regular season with a hard fought battle against Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Grace played without their two starting post players as Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) was out due to illness and Sydney Wildeboer (Kent City) is still nursing a wrist injury so this was an uphill battle to begin with as Silver Lake features three six-footers in their playing rotation.
Grace came out in the first half and controlled the game with their defense, eventually opening up an eight point lead. The Lady Tigers could not put Silver Lake away, however, as they missed some easy shots and the Lakers put on a rally toward the end of the first half to cut the Tiger lead to five at 24-19.
Both offenses woke up in the second half as Silver Lake started to establish their inside game and made a few from long range as well and Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) carried the Lady Tiger offense for a while as the Lakers struggled to contain her in the paint. Once again, key turnovers and poor execution down the stretch burned the Lady Tigers as they fell by the final score of 66-62.
Anna Iwaniw, despite giving up at least three inches of height to her opponents, led the way for Grace with 25 points. Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) added 11, Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) had nine, and Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) chipped in with eight.
“This game was another one of those games we had a real chance to win, but it didn’t happen”, Coach Renzema reflected after the game. “We have had a lot of games like this where we had a lead in the second half and couldn’t hang on down the stretch.”
“I am very proud of the effort that was given today, especially since we were so short handed against a team with good size. We battled hard and I think the experience these girls gain this year will benefit us next year and beyond.”
The Lady Tigers will travel to Chicago to participate in the NCCAA Midwest Regional where they will play Lincoln Christian on Thursday at 7 PM.
The Lady Tigers got out of the gate slowly once again Friday night at Northland as they fell behind by a 25-10 margin. The girls from Grace, however, came to life and scored the last 10 points of the first half to close the gap to 25-20 and giving them a sense of hope for the victory.
The second half was a seesaw battle that saw both teams take small leads. Critical turnovers down the stretch doomed the Lady Tigers and they couldn’t get a critical basket when they needed it most. Down three with a little over seven seconds left, the Tigers had one last shot to send the game to OT. Brittany Summerfield’s long range shot from the right corner found net, but officials ruled it was after the buzzer to seal the 51-48 loss to the host Pioneers.
Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) came to life in the second half, scoring 17 of her team leading 19 points in that frame. Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) scored 10 and Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) chipped in with nine. The Tigers dominated the rebounding by a 49-22 margin. Kerie Rudd led the way with 13 and Anna Iwaniw completed the double double with 10 boards.
“We have been getting out slowly in our games lately and that cost us today”, Coach Renzema commented after the game. “Overall it is hard to complain about allowing only 51 points to a good offensive team like Northland, but we just had too many empty possessions on offense.”
The Lady Tigers will finish the regular season on Saturday as they play at Silver Lake College.
The Lady Tiger offense has been quite inconsistent throughout the season and was far from perfect again on Tuesday night. Defense has been been the calling card for the team as many of their team defensive statistics rank in the top 10 nationally. That defense was on display again Tuesday night at Kuyper as they held the Cougars to single digits in each half en route to a convincing 74-10 victory.
Four Tigers reached double figures in scoring for the game, led by Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) with 16. Sarah Steenwyk (Zion Christian) and Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) each scored 14, and Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) added 12. All eight Tigers that were available scored in the game.
The Tigers amassed a commanding 57-19 rebounding advantage. Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) led with 12, Marissa Pelletier had 10, Abby Schultz had nine and Katie Allers had eight. Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) once again controlled things from the point and dished out a team high seven assists.
“Kuyper is a little short handed right now, but they do have a couple of players that can hurt you”, Coach Renzema said after the game. “I thought we did a good job of help defense and made it tough for them to score.”
The Lady Tigers will conclude their regular season this coming weekend with games at Northland International University and Silver Lake College.
Amy Leszinske drives in for 2 of her 16 points.
The Lady Tigers extended road swing took them to Lincoln, Illinois on Saturday where they faced the high scoring duo of Tatiana Colclasure and Moriah Kirkpatrick and the rest of the Lincoln Christian University Red Lions. The Tiger defense was solid throughout the game and held the two players to more than 10 points below their combined averages. The Tiger offense, while struggling from the field with 33% shooting for the game, got enough baskets to grind out the nine point victory.
Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) scored her season high of 16 points to lead the Tiger scorers. Abby Schultz (Calvary Schools of Holland) added 13, including a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) and Katie Allers (Coopersville) chipped in with nine and six points respectively.
The Tigers once again outrebounded their opponent. Anna Iwaniw and Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) led the team with nine boards apiece. Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) led the team in assists with five.
“We knew this would be a very tough game”, Coach Renzema commented. “They nearly knocked off Moody here a week ago and have been playing some good basketball. We knew we needed to contain their two excellent scorers. We did a decent job of that most of the time and limited their shot attempts.”
The Lady Tigers will be in action on Tuesday to take on the cross-town rival Cougars at Kuyper College. Game time is 5 PM.
Only two players returned from the 2011-12 campaign and both of them turned in fine performances on Tuesday night as the Lady Tigers defeated Great Lakes Christian, 64-52. Sophomore Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) scored 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting and Senior Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) had a strong 10 point and 11 assist outing to lead the way.
The Lady Tigers came out of the gate slowly, possibly a little travel weary from the Texas trip the prior weekend, and found themselves down 28-26 at the half. The Tiger offense got revved up in the second half, scoring 38 points after the intermission and holding Great Lakes to 24 for the final victory margin. The Lady Tigers owned a 37-28 rebounding advantage with Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) leading the way with 14.
“It certainly was not a thing of beauty”, Coach Renzema commented after the game. “We are happy with the win, but we know we need to play better when we face our critical regional games coming up to finish out the season.”
“Kerie and Marissa were our only returning players this year and they carried us tonight. We are a very young team and we need those two to use their experience to help us win some critical games down the stretch.”
The Lady Tigers will be in action on Saturday as they travel to Lincoln Christian for a critical NCCAA regional contest.
Amy Leszinske and Katie Allers show their Texas spirit.
Today we woke up at our hotel bright and early, all packed, and yet, not quite ready to say goodbye to Texas. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to the airport.
Security was a breeze and we ended up waiting for our flight with plenty of time to spare. The reality of homework began to sink in, and many of us cracked down and got to work until our departure. We ascended around eleven in the morning, and catching our last glimpses of sunshine and green terrain, headed toward Detroit. Approximately two hours and one time zone change later, we prepared to land. Looking out the windows, the snow-filled clouds and white-covered city assured us we were back in Michigan.
As much as it was an ice cold return, I look back with countless great team memories. Amy and Marissa had been first time flyers , and many of us got signed certificates to commemorate that as a team. Reflecting on basketball, beating Dallas Christian was surely enjoyable, and even though we lost a tough one to Arlington Baptist, it was a very exciting game. Visiting Texas was a blast, from the first meal at Fuzzy’s, to the memorable trip to the Stock Yards in Forth Worth. With a few cuts, bruises, stitches, and one Charley horse, the trip to Dallas will be in the books as one the Lady Tigers will never forget.
As a team, we would like to thank all of our family and friends for praying for our team and wishing us well. We would also like to extend our thanks to Dallas Christian, who provided a van and drivers when we needed them.
Excited to get back to Michigan weather.
After a rough start to our day we left the hotel around 9:30. We had about a forty five minute drive to Arlington Baptist. It’s amazing the amount of construction that is going on in Texas. The highways go in every direction. Another thing that we noticed was that the fire hydrants here are white or silver.
We arrived at the school around 10:30. When we walked into the gym we were surprised by what we saw. It was a huge auditorium and the gym floor was made out of rubber tile. After a tough loss, we all hit the showers. The water heater was broken so we had to take freezing cold showers because we weren’t heading back to the hotel. Before we left the school, we stopped to take some team pictures on the school’s campus.
We then loaded up in the van and headed toward Fort Worth, Texas. I liked the drive because we were able to get out of the city and see a little of the country. In Fort Worth, we went to the stockyard. We all had a lot of fun exploring the city. First, we ate at Billy Bob’s. It is a restaurant/entertainment place that can hold up to 6,000 people. At Billy Bob’s there were dance floors and a stages where bands would come and play. The food there was really good. Most of us ate their pulled pork or beef brisket. After dinner/lunch we had free time and walked around to the different shops. They had a cattle drive at 4:00, a maze, bull riding, a shootout, and horseback riding. It was nice being out side in the warm weather and the fresh air [well air that was filled with the smell of manure]. We spent the rest of the time going into the shops and tried to experience as much of Texas as we could.
Kerie Rudd and Anna Iwaniw pose with a Cowboy at Billy Bob’s.
As we were getting off the exit for the hotel, there were thousands of birds sitting on the ground and on the electric wires. All at once they flew into air and it was an amazing sight. We had never seen that so many birds at one time.
When we got back to the hotel we had devotions as a team. My favorite part was when we were being loud and some said, “Be quiet! I want to talk about Jesus.” I was super happy because each woman on the team is special and their relationship with Christ is very important. I love seeing God work in each of my team mates lives. I cannot wait to spend more time with them learning about God and seeing his creation. Too often we forget how beautiful God’s creation is. Today, we got to see God’s power and creativity.
The Lady Tiger offense got off to a sluggish start again on Saturday, spotting the host Arlington Baptist Patriots a 25-17 halftime lead. The Tigers actually took an early lead and it could have been double figures if not for a lot of missed easy shots. Grace held a 13-9 lead when Arlington went on a run and the Tigers didn’t score for several minutes as the hosts jumped out to a double digit lead.
The Lady Tigers re-grouped at halftime and came out with better execution and took two point leads on two different occasions. Arlington had and answer every time and consistently hit shots, usually three pointers, on their key possessions. The hosts hit eight shots from behind the arc compared to only three for the Tigers. The Tigers did a good job of containing Arlington’s two main scoring threats, but the supporting cast consistently hit key shots when it counted.
The Lady Tigers had balanced scoring for the game with Sydney Wildeboer (Kent City) leading the way with 11 points. Kerie Rudd (Battle Creek Pennfield) and Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) each had 10. The Tigers enjoyed a solid 40-29 rebounding edge with Kerie Rudd and Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) each leading the way with eight boards. Amy also stuffed the stat sheet with six assists and four steals.
“Once again we showed we can play with some of the better teams in the NCCAA”, Coach Rich Renzema commented after the game. “One of these times we will close out the game and get the win. We did a lot of good things in the game, but Arlington made a few more plays than we did.”
“I thought Amy Leszinske played her best game of the year. She is starting to realize her potential and cause a lot of problems for opponents with her size and speed at the point.”
The Tiger team will travel home from Texas on Sunday and will be back in action at Great Lakes Christian on Tuesday.