WINONA LAKE – Grace’s women’s basketball team had one of its best defensive displays of the season in a 63-47 win over Spring Arbor. A valiant comeback against No. 13 Spring Arbor came up short for Grace’s men’s basketball team on Saturday.
Grace Women 63, Spring Arbor 47
The Lady Lancers (10-10, 4-4 Crossroads League) held SAU to 28 percent shooting from the floor on Saturday, outscoring the Cougars (8-11, 2-6 CL) in all four quarters.
Grace’s defense was dialed in throughout the first half of Saturday’s game. The Lady Lancers held SAU to 23 first-half points, stifling the Cougars in the opening two quarters.
Grace’s scoring was slow at the onset, mustering only four points over the first 7:30 of action. But Grace ended the first quarter on a flurry thanks to a trio of 3-pointers from Micaela Box, Kyannah Stull and Brooke Sugg, going ahead 15-10.
The Lady Lancers gradually built up their cushion to 10 in the second quarter after Sugg’s second triple of the half. Grace went into halftime on top 31-23; the Cougars shot just 25 percent from the floor.
The third quarter saw much of the same. Grace had its best scoring output of the day with 20 points and led 51-40 entering the last 10 minutes.
The Lady Lancers surged ahead by 15 early in the fourth quarter and slowed the pace dramatically with a comfortable lead. As a result, the Cougars were held to just seven points in the last quarter. Both teams substituted freely over the final minutes.
Sugg had scoring honors on the day with 15 points, going 3-of-6 from the 3-point line. Kelsie Peterson had a strong showing with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, and Box scored 11 points in 14 minutes off the bench.
Vironnica Drake pulled down seven rebounds to go along with four steals, Stull had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, and Rachel Montgomery tallied four points and five boards.
Grace as a team scored 21 points off 17 turnovers by SAU. The Lady Lancers also had 17 second-chance points thanks to a 43-34 advantage in rebounding.
The Lady Lancers hit the road on Wednesday, traveling to No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan for a 7 p.m. contest.
Spring Arbor 87, Grace Men 82 OT
The Lancers, who led in the final minute of regulation, lost 87-82 in overtime at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
The Cougars (17-3, 5-3 Crossroads League) stunned Grace from the tipoff with a barrage of 3-pointers. SAU rattled off four triples before four minutes had expired, seizing a 12-2 advantage.
The Lancers (7-13, 0-8 CL) fell behind 26-11 midway into the first half before Grace’s defense managed to slow down the Cougars.
Grace went on a 13-5 run over the next seven minutes thanks to four points from Erik Bowen and a 3-pointer from Jaret Sons.
But SAU went into halftime with momentum after beating the buzzer with a layup to pull ahead 41-33. Both teams shot well in the half; SAU hit 57 percent of its field goals while Grace was at 55 percent.
Grace slowly chipped away at the Cougars’ cushion in the second half, keeping pressure on SAU. The Lancers came to within one at 61-60 after Logan Godfrey hit two free throws with 4:53 remaining.
On the next possession, Godfrey was fouled again and tied the game, and Matt Jennings gave Grace its first lead at 66-64 with 3:10 left on the clock.
With 1:38 left, Haden Deaton buried a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to put the Lancers on top 69-67 and force a timeout by the Cougars. SAU’s first game-tying shot was blocked by Godfrey, but the Cougars were fouled on the ensuing loose ball and tied the game at the free throw line.
Deaton had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but his driving bank shot was short as the game went to overtime.
Spring Arbor started overtime with confidence with six straight points from Paul Marandet, but the Lancers continued to fight back. Timely triples from Charlie Warner, Jennings and Sons kept the Lancers within striking distance.
But the Cougars refused to surrender the lead. SAU incredibly scored on all eight of its possessions in overtime, pulling away for the five-point win. Marandet, a Warsaw Community High School graduate, finished with 21 points and eight assists.
Marandet, a sophomore guard for the Cougars, scored eight points in the overtime session. He went 8-13 from the field and 5-7 from the free throw line in the win. Marandet also had three rebounds, a steal and four blocked shots in 34 minutes for the Cougars, who improved to 17-3 overall and moved to 5-3 in league play.
Grace shot 46 percent as a team from the floor, including 47 percent from the 3-point line. The Lancers were exceptional from the foul line, making 22-of-24 (92 percent).
The Cougars made 53 percent of their shots for the game and only committed 10 turnovers.
Sons scored a team-high 16 points while going 4-of-6 from the 3-point line, and Godfrey had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Jennings had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, Deaton tallied 12 points, and Bowen finished with 11 points, 7 boards and 3 assists.
The Lancers head to No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in pursuit of their first league victory.