INDIANA WESLEYAN WOMEN 80, GRACE 67
Grace’s women’s basketball team could not piece together an upset of No. 16 Indiana Wesleyan, falling 80-67 on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers (10-11, 4-5 Crossroads League) kept pressure on IWU throughout the contest, but a few timely runs by the Wildcats, coupled with Grace’s inability to grab key rebounds or 50/50 balls, won the game.
“Their interior game, their paint, that was the difference in the game,” said Grace College head coach Dan Davis. “At the end of the day, size wins sometimes. They got it where their strength was, and that was using their size to their advantage. We didn’t have much to counter, and not getting some of the loose balls didn’t help us.”
The Wildcats seemed to find the basketball all over the court, winning the rebounding battle 36-25 but also getting to several loose balls when it seemed Grace needed a break in the worst way. Wesleyan’s height also played a huge factor, scoring 42 points in the paint against a severely undersized Grace side that had post Kaylie Warble foul out with over four minutes left in the game.
Not being able to check the Wildcats (14-7, 7-2 CL) became Grace’s downfall Wednesday night, which had 6-1 Nicole Ignasiak record 12 points and three rebounds, 5-11 guard Dayton Groninger notch 20 points and six boards, and 6-2 Elaina Ededuwa cause more problems than her eight points and eight rebounds might suggest. Factor in 5-7 guard Margot Woughter shooting over the top, dropping in a game-high 25 points, and Grace’s defense had its hands full.
“Every team has to take ownership at some point, you have to want to take it to the next level,” Davis said. “Understanding what’s not getting us there and what can get us over the hump. Recognizing where we are, what are our strengths and what are our weaknesses. We can help them get there, but they have to want to take that next step. Not just one or two, it has to be a collective group.
“We saw it tonight. Indiana Wesleyan was much bigger than us and we didn’t do the little things to make up for that size difference. This group has to grow a little and take ownership. Fortunately, we still have a lot of time this season to raise that sense of urgency. We have time to make some adjustments.”
Grace looked like it was primed to make an upset bid after Brooke Sugg grabbed a Veronnica Drake miss and hit a floater in the lane to cut IWU’s lead to 56-53 with 2:03 left in the third quarter. That would be the closest the game would get the rest of the way. Groninger, playing in front of dozens of friends and family just minutes from her alma mater Warsaw Community High School, gave IWU some breathing room after hitting a jumper at the buzzer to end the third. At 63-53, IWU was pulling away.
Sugg got the lead down to seven after hitting a shot in the lane, but IWU came right back down the court with Groninger finding Woughter in stride for a three from the top of the circle, putting IWU up 72-62. The Wildcats would lead by double digits the remainder of the contest.
Sugg, despite being hounded all night by the Wildcat defense, was 10-17 from the floor and finished with 24 points. Drake had 12 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists, and Brooke Treadway tallied nine points and four boards. Kamryn Hostetler scored nine points, and Kyannah Stull added five points, three boards and a pair of assists and steals.
Wednesday’s game was also a “Blackout.” The teams joined causes in order to raise aree wareness and funds for non-profit organization Destiny Rescue. The game helped raise over $1,500 to aid Destiny Rescue, which has a mission to end child trafficking.
The Lady Lancers remain at home on Saturday for a doubleheader against Taylor. The women’s game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
TIPPECANOE VALLEY GIRLS 78, PERU 48
Valley kept pace in the Three Rivers Conference race with a resounding win over visiting Peru Wednesday night.
Three Vikes reached double figures in the scoring column, led by Sophie Bussard’s 18 points. Hayley Backus continued her solid play with 16 points and Sidney Wagner notched 11 points.
Valley’s win sends them to 5-1 in the TRC and 13-5 overall. The Vikes are a half-game behind Northfield, which sit at 6-1 in the standings. Valley will come back Thursday night and take on another TRC rival at home in Rochester.
TIPPECANOE VALLEY 8TH GRADE GIRLS 46, TRITON 14
A 19-0 first quarter was more than enough for Valley to pull away in the eighth grade matchup. Patricia Jimenez led the Vikings with 12 points and Kaydence Mellott followed up with 10 points. Morgan Feldman led the Trojans with 12 points.
TIPPECANOE VALLEY 7TH GRADE GIRLS 24, TRITON 23
It was an overtime affair in the seventh grade contest, with Valley slipping out with the win. Ava Smith led Valley with 10 points and Sidney Nelson added six points in the win. Triton had Lena Doll lead the team with eight points, Macie Hansley finish with seven points and Jocelyn Faulkner add six points.