The Lady Tigers played their first two regional games of the season over the weekend at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois and came away with two victories. The Tigers opened on Friday night against the home team, the much improved Red Lions of Lincoln Christian University. The game was a tale of two halves as the first half was a defensive battle as the Lady Tigers held the hosts in check and went into the half with a 28-15 lead. The Red Lions feature two of the top scorers in the region in Tatiana Colclasure and Moriah Kirkpatrick, and they began to find the range in the second half. The Tigers held a double digit lead until late in the game when Colclasure and Kirkpatrick got hot from beyond the 3 point line. Lincoln closed the gap to five with under two minutes to play on a 3 pointer, but the Tigers held their composure down the stretch and made their free throws to seal the 67-61 victory.
Anna Iwaniw (Kent City) had a great all around game and led the Tigers with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists. Molly Holtrop (Cedar Springs) filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals and was 9-11 on free throws, including several key makes at the end of the game to help seal the win. Julia Wilson (Hart) chipped in with 9 points and Hannah Wight (Cedar Springs) had 7.
The Tigers won despite only shooting 36% for the game and were out rebounded by a substantial margin, but the team depth and pressure on defense gave them the upper hand.
Saturday’s opponent was the Pioneers of Northland International University. The Lady Tigers got out of the gate a little slow against the Pioneer zone defense, but eventually got untracked to establish a 37-21 halftime lead. Once again, GBC’s depth and pressure defense wore down the Pioneers as Coach Renzema consistently subbed in 5 people at a time throughout the game.
Anna Iwaniw had another standout game as she was nearly perfect shooting for the game, going 8-9 from the field and 2-2 from the charity stripe for a team high 18 points. She also had 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Molly Holtrop had 10 points and 9 assists. Marissa Pelletier (Calvin Christian) had 8 points and led the team with 11 rebounds. Amy Leszinske (Ravenna) contributed 7 points and 8 rebounds. The Tigers turned around their rebounding problems from Friday as they won the battle of the boards by a 47-29 count. The Tigers shot poorly from beyond the arc with a sub-par 4-23 showing, but were a solid 47% from two point land and were 85% (17-20) from the FT line.
“We did what we had to do this weekend and that was to get two wins,” Coach Renzema sad after the weekend. “We played really well at times, but we are still very inconsistent on offense and defense. When we do things the right way, we can be a pretty good team, but we have to find the consistency in effort and execution.”
“It is always interesting to get to see all of the teams in the region for the first time. The region is really balanced and you can’t afford to rest on anyone this year. I think our main advantage over the other teams is our depth. We are able to sub 5 players at a time and really not lose much, if anything.”
The Lady Tigers will finally have home games next weekend on the 13th and 14th of December as they host their annual Christmas Tournamant. Kuyper College will host AFLBS at 5 on Friday, followed by Grace against Emmaus at 7. The consolation game will be at 1 on Saturday followed by the Championship game at 3.