Grace downs West Coast Baptist, Advances to NCCAA Final Four
Freshman Jared Bradford rises up to finish the nifty up-and-under. Bradford finished with 15 points.
Grace Bible College’s 2014 National Tournament run started this evening in a match-up against the Eagles of West Coast Baptist College (Lancaster, CA) in the Elite Eight. This would be the second time the teams have seen each other this season, after West Coast was able to defeat the Tigers 97-82 back in early January in Portland, Oregon.
Sophomore Paul TenHarmsel kicked off the game offensively for the Tigers, scoring their first 8 points to keep the game all knotted up after the first couple minutes of play. The Eagles were then able to stretch the Tiger defense and hit multiple outside shots to open up a seven-point lead midway into the first half. A quick 6-0 run from Grace knocked the Eagle run down to one point, as senior Nick Van Loo was able to knock down a three-point shot from the corner with 8:00 remaining in the half. With 2:00 remaining in the first half, the Tigers were able to capture their first lead at 38-37 when senior Nick Mascarro was able to beautifully execute an alley-oop pass from freshman Jared Bradford. It was looking as if Grace was going to head into the locker room at the half two minutes later with a four-point lead, until the Eagles knocked down a contested deep three-point shot as the buzzer sounded, which resulted in a 41-40 Tiger advantage at the half.
Junior Travis Rader kicked off the second-half with four straight points, as Grace was able to take a five-point lead just two possessions after stepping on the court for the final period. However, Grace could not capitalize on this run at this point, and the Eagles would stay right on the Tigers’ heels for the next five minutes. The Eagles would take back control of the lead at the 14:00 mark at 48-47. This would quickly be reclaimed by the Tigers on the following possession on a basket from junior Cameron Cramer, and they would only go on to extend the lead from there on out. Grace ended up outscoring the Eagles 40-29 in the second half, en-route to a 81-69 final score.
The way the Tigers played on the defensive end of the floor in the second half held an obvious significance in their victory. Grace held West Coast to 1-12 shooting from the three-point line in the final period, after they hit five shots from beyond the arc in the first period. The stellar game control from the guards on the offensive end of the floor was also very evident, as Grace finished with a season-low of three turnovers on the game.
Junior Jake Blauwkamp was named both Grace Tiger Network and NCCAA Video Broadcast player of the game, after finishing with 12 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor and generating a spark for the Tigers that was very apparent throughout the entire game.
Grace will face tournament host and #1 seed Ohio Christian University in a Final Four showdown tomorrow at 7:30 PM. The game will be available on live audio broadcast on the Grace Tiger Network free of charge, HERE.
Points: Bradford 15, Cramer 15, Blauwkamp 12
Rebounds: Cramer 14, TenHarmsel 7, Bradford 6
Assists: Cramer 4, Bradford 3, Mascarro 2
Blocks: TenHarmsel 1
Steals: Rader 4, Bradford 2