After starting the season with four victories in five games, the Grace Tigers went through the ringer this past week dropping four games on the road.
Grace took an 84-68 loss to the Calvin Knights on Monday. The game was an exhibition for Calvin but counted on the Tigers’ record. Leading 42-37 at the half, Calvin saw Grace get within two points before pulling away from the Tigers in the final minutes. Joe Dekkenga led the Tigers with 10 points off the bench as three other players scored nine each.
Thursday night, the Tigers headed to Allendale chasing a win against the NCAA Div II Grand Valley State Lakers. Grace held their own with GVSU in the first ten minutes, the score was tied at 17-17. But an 18-0 run by the Lakers put Grace on a sinking ship. The Tigers fought back to a manageable deficit at 47-36 at halftime.
Grace would then fight their way back in to the game and were within two possession with just over seven minutes remaining but it was all the fight they had left in them. GVSU worked the clock and possession for a 88-74 win, moving Grace to 4-3 on the year. Sophomore point guard Brandon Winchester-Jones led the Tigers with 18 points and 7 assists. Sophomore Adam Kregel added 16 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting.
Friday, the team headed south for a weekend double-header in the Optimus KCCCF Cancer Tournament in Winona Lake, IN.
First off, the Grace Bible College (MI) Tigers jumped it up with the Grace College (IN) Lancers on Friday. The Tigers held a five-point lead with just over ten minutes to go in the second half but a poor run of turnovers and fouls saw that lead become a 10-point deficit. The shots that were falling all night just stopped going in late in the game for the Tigers. Freshman Hunter Greer led the Tigers with 16 points on 5-6 shooting. Winchester-Jones scored 12 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Saturday, hopes were high that this group would find a way to end the streak and go home with a victory in hand. Huntington University (NAIA) had different plans for Grace. The Tigers got out to a slow start, trailed at the half but eventually took control midway through the second half. An empty possession with under a minute on the clock would lead to a game-tying three-pointer by the Foresters. Winchester-Jones’ buzzer-beater rimmed out.
In the overtime period, the Foresters were lights out hot from the field and took a 79-71 win from the Tigers. Winchester-Jones finished with a team-high 19 points, followed by senior Adam Rayner with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers are right back at it on Monday at 7 p.m. when they visit the Davenport Panthers.