Grace Men’s Basketball 89, Lancaster Bible 85
Grace’s men’s basketball team claimed the NCCAA Midwest Region championship on Friday, defeating Lancaster Bible 89-85.
The Lancers clinched an automatic bid to next week’s NCCAA National Championship courtesy of the regional title.
The game had no bearing on the national tournament, however, as both teams were already guaranteed a spot in the national tournament.
The NCCAA National Championships, hosted by Grace, will begin on Wednesday and run until Saturday at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
The Lancers (18-11) led for the majority of Friday’s game, but the Chargers (11-3) kept the game nervously close from start to finish.
The first half was an offensive barnburner. The teams accounted for 100 points in the 20-minute half.
Jakob Gibbs buried a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game, and the Lancers led for the rest of the half.
Grace scored seven of the first nine points in the game and eventually climbed ahead by 12 after an and-1 by Haden Deaton.
The Chargers refused to let Grace roll away with a massive lead, however. LBC continued to play fast and gradually caught up to the Lancers.
The Chargers scored four quick points over the final 40 seconds to come within 51-49 at halftime.
Grace shot incredibly well in the first half, making 70 percent of its field goals (19 of 27). The number was even more impressive considering the Lancers made just 2 of 8 from the 3-point line.
On 2-point tries, Grace made 17 of 19 in the half.
But the Lancers were sloppy with ball control. Grace committed 12 turnovers before halftime, allowing the Chargers to score 20 points off those miscues.
Jake Wadding was dynamic with 13 points and four assists, and Frankie Davidson and Deaton each scored 11 points.
The Chargers grabbed their first lead of the game early in the second half, but the Lancers quickly resumed control.
Elijah Malone converted an and-1, and Davidson and Deaton each hit triples to put Grace back on top.
Another bucket from Malone gave Grace an 82-72 advantage with less than five minutes to go. But the Chargers roared back, quickly pulling to within 85-83 with 1:12 remaining.
Deaton provided a clutch moment 30 seconds later; the senior calmly swished a contested jumper to give Grace a four-point lead, extending the lead to two possessions.
The Chargers tried two desperation shots in the final seconds, but time expired on another comeback bid from LBC.
Wadding led all players with 22 points, shooting 8 of 10 from the floor. He tallied 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Davidson was also efficient with 20 points, 9 boards and 3 assists. Deaton amassed 16 points and two steals, and Gibbs had 15 points, 4 boards and 2 steals.
Malone posted a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists, and Matt Jennings notched five points and three dimes. Jennings was also honored before the game for scoring 1,000 points in his career.
The Lancers will be a high seed in the NCCAA field. Grace will play its opening game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The bracket and opponents will be unveiled Saturday night.
Tickets are on sale now for the NCCAA tournament at www.gclancers.com/tickets. Tickets will be sold until the arena’s allowed capacity is reached, so fans are encouraged to purchase their online tickets as soon as possible.
Grace Baseball 4, Huntington 2
Huntington 8, Grace 0
Grace College’s baseball team picked up a win in epic fashion while splitting a two-game set against Huntington on Friday afternoon.
The first game of the doubleheader ended with a bang. The Lancers came from behind in the ninth inning to win thanks to a two-run walkoff home run from Austin Carr.
The Lancers (7-7, 4-2 Crossroads League) drew first blood in game one when starting pitcher Houston Haney helped his own cause by driving in Jaron Mullet on a sacrifice fly.
Huntington (10-3, 3-3 CL) was able to draw even in the third inning. A Grace fielding error in the third frame allowed the Foresters to tie the game 1-1.
The pitchers ruled the middle innings as neither team was able to drive across another run.
Haney was replaced going into the top of ninth after pitching eight innings. Haney struck out six batters while not allowing an earned run.
The Foresters looked poised to take the game with a home run in the top half of the ninth.
The Lancers answered back with three straight hits in their half of the ninth, ending with Carr’s shot over the right field fence, giving Grace the 4-2 win.
Evan Etchison picked up the win for the Lancers. Patrick Danforth had a multi-hit game, reaching base twice.
In game two, the Lancers threatened early picking up a pair of hits in the first inning. Grace failed to capitalize, however, and Huntington soon took hold of the game.
Grace surrendered runs in three straight innings. By the start of the fifth the Lancers found themselves in a 5-0 hole.
Grace was able to put together a couple of hits but couldn’t push across a run, falling 8-0.
Griffin batted 2 for 3 in the loss, and Sam Newkirk doubled.
The Lancers finish up the four-game series with Huntington on Saturday.
Grace Mens Tennis 4, UNOH 3
Grace’s men’s tennis team earned win No. 20 on the season in dramatic fashion on Friday.
The NAIA No. 19-ranked Lancers rallied from behind to upset No. 17 Northwestern Ohio. Grace now boasts seven wins against teams who were ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 this season.
The Lancers have already shattered the program record for wins in a season, improving their ledger to 20-5.
Grace had to battle from behind the entire afternoon against the Racers (6-2). UNOH claimed the doubles’ points, quickly winning at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.
Pavle Popovic had the only straight sets win during singles’ play for the Lancers, claiming a 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 6.
Fabricio Galvan pulled out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 win at No. 4, and Max Rozas battled to a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory at No. 1. Those three-set wins simply set the stage for the decisive court at No. 3 singles.
Facundo Paredes did the near unthinkable to clinch the match for Grace. The freshman split the first two sets at No. 3 singles 4-6 and 6-4. Paredes found himself behind 5-1 in the decisive third set but bravely battled back to send the match to a tiebreaker; Paredes won the tiebreak to clinch the upset win for Grace.
The Lancers will have a few more tournaments this spring. Dates and opponents will be determined.