Grace rides strong second half into the regional semis
Senior point guard Nick Mascarro looks to finish at the hoop. Mascarro finished the game with a team-high 22 points.
Lansing, MI – The Grace Tigers traveled to Great Lakes Christian College Thursday afternoon to kick off their pursuit of a 2014 Midwest Regional Championship in the first round against the Lincoln Christian University Red Lions.
The Tiger starting line-up came out of the gate ready to play, taking a 13-4 lead just minutes into the game. They were able to push their lead to double digits as time went on, with the help of some hot shooting off the bench from sophomore Paul TenHarmsel, who came in to knock down two quick 3-point shots right when he entered into the game. At this point in the game, Grace unfortunately lost big man Luke McKian for the remainder of the game due to a sprained ankle. After the injury to McKian, Lincoln caught fire and was able to nail multiple long-range shots in route to a 17-3 run, which resulted in a 31-27 Red Lion advantage. A three-point shot from freshman Jared Bradford and free throws from senior Nick Mascarro and junior Cameron Cramer quickly grabbed the lead back for the Tigers, and they went into the half leading the Red Lions, 39-36.
It was evident in the second half that Grace was playing with the win-or-go-home mindset. Grace quickly jetted out with a 9-2 run to extend their lead to double digits only two minutes into the half. They would not turn back for the rest of the game, with stifling defense and efficient offense for the remaining 18:00. With this being said, during this time in the second half three Grace starters were forced to sit out due to injury, with junior Travis Rader aching from back spasms, a sprained ankle incurred by junior Brad Rosenzweig, and freshman Jared Bradford hitting the ground after getting fouled hard on a take to the basket. TenHarmsel, junior Jake Blauwkamp, and senior Nick Van Loo were all able to step it up in their absence, as the Tigers continued to pile on the lead in the second half, pushing it to over 20 points on a fast break dunk from TenHarmsel at the 5:00 mark. Grace ended the second half outscoring the Red Lions 55-30 in the period. The game ended in a 94-66 victory for the Grace Tigers, advancing them to the NCCAA Midwest Regional semifinals against Maranatha Baptist Bible College today at 6:00 PM. The Tigers will be looking to avenge their 83-76 loss back on February 15 in Maranatha’s gym.
Today’s game will be available through live audio broadcast, here: GRACE VS. MARANATHA
Points: Mascarro 22, Bradford 18, TenHarmsel 17, Cramer 14
Rebounds: Cramer 11, Mascarro 6, Rosenzweig 6
Assists: Jake Blauwkamp 4, Mascarro 4, Bradford 4
Blocks: Cramer 1
Steals: Cramer 4, Nick Van Loo 2, Blauwkamp 2
Congratulations to Cameron Cramer on being honored as a 1st-team All-Region player after the game last night, as well as Nick Mascarro being voted to the 2nd-team.
Head Coach Gary Bailey received the Midwest Regional Co-Coach of the Year award, along with Maranatha Baptist Bible College's Keith Salscheider.