WINONA LAKE – Grace’s opening game of the Bennigan’s Terry Polston Hoops for Hope turned into a rout as Grace’s men’s basketball team blasted Grace Bible 88-66 on Friday night.
The annual home tournament for Grace raises funds and awareness for cancer care in Kosciusko County through the county’s Cancer Care Fund (KCCCF).
Four players reached double figure scoring for the Lancers (7-1) and seven scored at least seven points in the rout.
Grace drained 12 3-pointers and shot a sizzling 52 percent from the floor for the game, led by 17 points and four triples by Niko Read.
It took Grace until the final five minutes of the first half to gain a comfortable lead against the Tigers (4-4). Grace opened up a 35-24 lead on a 3-pointer from Read with 3:49 remaining, going ahead by 16 points at the halftime break.
The Lancers quickly propelled their lead up to 20-plus points in the early stages of the second half and never looked back. Head coach Jim Kessler substituted freely in the final six minutes of regulation, allowing 15 players to see the court and 11 Lancers to score.
Read’s 17 points came with a team-high five rebounds, and Brandon Vanderhegghen notched 14 points, 3 assists and 3 steals. Logan Irwin and Caleb Featherston tallied 10 points apiece.
Adrian Makolli was an efficient 4-for-4 from the floor with 8 points, 2 dunks and 2 blocks in 8 minutes of action. Stephen Halstead racked up eight points in six minutes, and Erik Bowen scored seven off the bench.
As a team Grace posted an impressive ratio of 18 assists and nine turnovers. Grace outscored the Tigers 40-28 in the paint and had 25 points off turnovers.
The Lancers will aim for the championship of the tournament on Saturday at 4 p.m. against IU-East, who is receiving votes in the NAIA poll along with Grace. IU-East held off Clarke 70-68 on Friday.