Grace Stumbles at No. 13 USF

February 9th, 2015

In a pivotal late-season matchup in the Crossroads League, No. 13 St. Francis used a clutch spurt over the final minutes to win 73-63 over No. 20 Grace on Saturday.

The Cougars (20-6, 10-4 CL) outscored the Lancers 13-3 over the final four minutes, breaking open a 60-60 tie en route to victory. USF remain in a tie for second place in the CL standings while the Lancers (19-7, 9-5 CL) slipped to fourth.

At the onset, Grace’s offense sputtered with two missed field goals and two turnovers after tipoff. USF scored the first eight points of the contest, and they continued their assault with a 21-10 lead with eight minutes left in the half.

The Lancers trimmed the Cougars’ cushion to three points, but USF responded with a 6-0 spurt to lead by nine. Niko Read ended the scoring for the first half with a 3-pointer, bringing Grace to within 38-32 at the half.

USF upped its lead to nine early in the second half before Grace rallied. A rebound putback from Dennis Williams knotted the game at 45-45, and Grace eventually took a two-point lead with 7:45 to play.

The game remained tightly contested, and a 3-pointer from Chad Hoffer tied the score for the fourth time at 60-60 with 4:11 on the clock. But Grace’s offense was about to hit a fatal cold streak.

The only points Grace could muster over the critical final four minutes came on a 3-pointer from Logan Irwin with 52 seconds left in the game. Meanwhile, USF made three straight field goals and made 6-of-6 from the foul line to pull away for the 10-point win.

Read and Williams tied for team honors with 15 points. Read hit five 3-pointers, and Williams grabbed a game-high nine boards.

Irwin finished with 11 points, 5 assists, 4 boards and 2 steals, Brandon Vanderhegghen added eight points before fouling out, and Hoffer chipped in six points and three assists off the bench.

Grace as a team shot 39 percent from the floor, including 43 percent in the second half. USF hit 50 percent of its field goals and grabbed four more rebounds as a team (36-32). The Cougars also attempted 17 more free throws and were whistled for eight fewer fouls.

The Lancers will hope to stay in contention for the league crown on Tuesday when Grace hosts Marian at 7 p.m.

Lancers Complete Season Sweep of Spring Arbor

February 5th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team secured another critical Crossroads League win with a 70-57 victory over Spring Arbor on Tuesday.

The Lancers (19-6, 9-4 CL) moved into a three-way tie for second place in the CL standings, setting up a pivotal matchup on Saturday at No. 13 St. Francis. Grace and USF are tied with Bethel for second place.

Grace used an efficient, balanced offense and a lockdown defense in the second half to pull out the convincing victory at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The Cougars started off the game on the better foot, opening a 7-2 lead after two minutes. It took Grace 10 minutes to tie the game at 20-20 after a pair of free throws from Caleb Featherston.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from the Cougars helped Spring Arbor reestablish a six-point edge with less than seven minutes remaining in the half. But Grace ended the half on a blistering pace to take control of the contest.

The Lancers closed out the half on a 15-3 run to go ahead 37-31 at halftime. Featherston scored seven points during Grace’s spurt, and Adrian Makolli converted a tip-in basket to beat the halftime buzzer. Both teams hit at least 50 percent of their field goals in the first period.

Grace’s defense helped turn the tide in the Lancers’ favor for good to start the second half. Spring Arbor missed four field goals and had four turnovers over the first five minutes of the period. As a result, the Lancers built up a 47-33 lead. From the last 6:00 of the first half to the first 5:00 of the second half, Grace outscored Spring Arbor 25-5.

Three minutes later, the Cougars had clawed back to within nine points. But Grace scored on three of its next four possessions to claim a 15-point lead and never looked back, cruising for the 13-point win. Spring Arbor was held to 26 points in the second half, committing eight turnovers and grabbing just nine rebounds over the final 20 minutes.

Logan Irwin had scoring honors on the night with 15 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers with 5 assists, 2 steals and 0 turnovers. Makolli had a career-high 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, adding nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

Featherston finished with 11 points off the bench, and Brandon Vanderhegghen tallied eight points and four boards.

Overall Grace had a 30-20 advantage in rebounding, including 17-9 in the second half. Grace also shot 50 percent from the floor for the game.

The Lancers’ game on Saturday with St. Francis is a doubleheader in Fort Wayne. The women’s Grace/USF game will tip off at 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m.

Grace Seminary Hosts “Lectures on the Reliability of Scripture”

February 2nd, 2015

Pictured left to right: Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr. and Dr. John Davis

February 5th, 2015 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Grace Theological Seminary will be hosting, “The Word of God is Living and Active:  Lectures on the Reliability of Scripture.” This free event, sponsored by Grace Theological Seminary, will be held in Westminster Hall on the Grace College campus.

Speakers Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr. and Dr. John Davis will be answering the questions, “Is the Bible a reliable document for faith and practice?” and, “Is the Bible trustworthy when it comes to historical, scientific, and literary evidence?”  Bringing answers to these questions from archaeological and textual perspectives, the two speakers will show how the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God, and still useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

Walter Christian Kaiser, Jr. is currently the president emeritus and distinguished professor of Old Testament and ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Mass.  He graduated from Wheaton College in 1958.

While pursuing graduate studies at Brandeis, Kaiser became professor and chairman of the Old Testament department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation in 1973. In 1980 Kaiser assumed the responsibilities of vice president and academic dean of Trinity. In the fall of 1993 he accepted an invitation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to serve as the first Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament. In 1997 Kaiser assumed the presidency of Gordon-Conwell while retaining the Mockler chair.

Dr. John Davis, Th.D., D.D., is president/professor emeritus at Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., where he has served as professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Grace Theological Seminary for 39 years.  He also held the position of executive vice president for six years and president for seven years of both Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary.

He holds a B.A. from Trinity College (Fla.), an M.Div. (with honor), Th.M. and Th.D. from Grace Theological Seminary and a D.D. from Trinity College. He also completed graduate study at the Near East School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and post-doctoral study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has participated in 13 archaeological expeditions to Jordan and Israel as a senior staff member. He has also worked in field excavations in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to survey work on Temple Mount sites in San Salvador, Central America.

Five School Records Topple at Trine Meet

February 2nd, 2015

The record books for Grace’s track and field teams underwent a major revision on Friday. The Lancers set five school records at the Trine Invitational and also met several national qualifying standards.

Donovan Graham became the second Lancer to qualify for NAIA Indoor Nationals this winter. He finished the 600-meter race in a blazing 1:22.34, setting a school record and finishing second in the race.

Freshman Mya Brown was named the NCCAA Female Indoor Field Athlete of the Week last week in her first collegiate competition. She followed up that performance with two school records on Friday. She ran the fastest 60 hurdles in program history at 9.33 seconds, beating an eight-year-old record. She then teamed up with Katelyn McCullough, Emma Mitchel and Jo Boren to set the 4×400 relay record in 4:12.48.

Nathan Brown’s long jump of 22-feet-6.5 and Tyler Back’s weight throw of 46-6.75 also set school records.

Three of head coach Jeff Raymond’s freshmen qualified for NCCAA Indoor Nationals, including Paige Kindig (pole vault), Bennett Parker (high jump) and Nathan Lane (mile). Jo Boren also finished first in the 400 by over a second at 1:00.73, qualifying for NCCAA’s and just missing her school-record time from last year by .01.

The Lancers will divide their efforts next weekend with some athletes going to Santa Barbara, Calif., for the Westmont Sunshine Open and some headed to Anderson, Ind., for the Anderson Invitational.

Freshman Brown Named League’s Field Athlete of the Week

January 27th, 2015

After her first collegiate meet, freshman Mya Brown was honored as the Crossroads League Female Field Athlete of the Week.

Brown, a native of Roanoke, Va., made a name for herself in her first collegiate meet at the Defiance Invitational. Brown broke a 15-year old school record in the triple jump by over a foot, winning the meet at 10.93 meters.

She went on to break a 17-year old long jump record at 5.07 meters and also took sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles. Brown met the NCCAA qualifying standard in all three events.

Brown was also a member of the 4×200 relay team that finished second with a time of 1:51.32.

The Lancers’ track team will continue the indoor season on Friday at Trine.

Dave Bliss to Speak in Warsaw at NCCAA Championship Banquet

January 27th, 2015

Former NCAA Div. I men’s basketball coach Dave Bliss will be the banquet speaker for the 2015 NCCAA Basketball National Championships, hosted by Grace College.

Bliss, who was the head men’s coach at DI schools such as Oklahoma, SMU, New Mexico and Baylor, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet on Tuesday, March 17. The banquet, held at Warsaw Community Church, starts at 6:30 p.m. Limited tickets for the public are available for $20 or $150 for a table of eight people. Contact Grace’s athletic office at (574) 372-5100 ext. 6266 to reserve your ticket.

“It’s exciting to have someone of this magnitude speak at the NCCAA National Championships,” said Grace athletic director Chad Briscoe. “Dave brings tremendous experience coaching on the national stage, and I’m excited to have Dave share his lessons of faith and life story with the coaches, teams and community.”

Bliss started his coaching career at Army under legendary coach Bob Knight in 1967. He moved on to assist his alma mater Cornell in 1969. When Knight accepted the position at Indiana University, he selected Bliss as one of his first assistants with the Hoosiers.

Bliss helped Knight build the Hoosiers into one of the top basketball programs in the country, assisting IU from 1971-75.

After helping IU achieve success, he was hired at the University of Oklahoma, becoming the youngest head coach at the time at the age of 31. He stayed with the Sooners until 1980, helping Oklahoma to their first Big 8 Conference championship in 1978. He was named the conference Coach of the Year twice.

He then took over coaching duties at SMU, leading the Mustangs to three NCAA tournaments from 1980-88. He won a Southwest Conference championship and was the conference’s Coach of the Year in 1988. From SMU, he became the coach at New Mexico for 11 years and was the school’s all-time winningest coach. He led the Lobos to multiple NCAA tournaments, but his desire to finish his coaching career at a Christian school led him to accept the job at Baylor.

Bliss helped the Bears start to climb in the competitive Big 12 Conference and won his 500th career game in 2001. He stumbled, however, and admitted to several NCAA violations which led to his resignation. He is scheduled to release an autobiography detailing his experience at Baylor and his redemptive journey. The book was co-written by Grace College graduate Stephen Copeland and is due for release in May.

In the fall of 2008, Bliss desired to start Game Plan Ministries which seeks to inspire others through a message of hope and direction. He shares his story and encourages others to guard their hearts, demonstrating how his life has been shaped through life’s trials and God’s grace and faithfulness.

Bliss currently serves as the Athletic Director, Dean of Students and basketball coach at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He has led the Rams to four straight Texas Christian Athletic League state championships and is back to doing what he likes best – encouraging young people. Bliss has been married to his wife Claudia for 37 years. They have three children and four great-grandchildren.

Lancers Excel in Track Season Opener

January 26th, 2015

Three school records and an NAIA qualifying standard highlighted Grace’s track and field indoor opener on Saturday at the Defiance College Invitational.

Nathan Brown, after missing most of last season with an injury, qualified for NAIA Indoor Nationals in the high jump. He cleared a school-record 6-feet-8 to place second. Brown also took third place in the long jump at 21-6.25.

Mya Brown made a name for herself in her first collegiate meet. The freshman broke a 15-year-old school record in the triple jump by over a foot, winning the meet at 35-10.5. She went on to break a 17-year-old long jump record at 16-7.75 and also took sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles. Brown met the NCCAA qualifying standard in all three events.

Freshman Nathan Lane ran his first track race in four years after spending his high school in Cameroon where his parents were missionaries. He finished second in the 3000 in 9:06.69.

Jo Boren was second in the 200 in 27.31 seconds, and Donovan Graham had an indoor personal-best time of 1:57.90 in the 800 to finish third.

Katelyn McCullough was fourth in the 800 and was also second in the 4×200 relay with Boren, Brown and Alicia Hertzler.

Grace’s throwers also exceled at the meet. Hannah Treadway qualified for NCCAA Nationals in two events – the weight throw (45-5.25) and the shot put (35-0.25). Tyler Back posted personal-bests in the shot put and weight throw, and Jacob Brown also met the NCCAA qualifying mark in the weight throw at 45-9.

“We had some very good performances today, especially for our first meet. A big congratulations to Nathan Brown for qualifying for NAIA Nationals,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “Mya Brown had a great all-around day and will keep getting better. I also think Donny [Graham] got off to a good start for the season as did our group of throwers. Nathan Lane was impressive in the 3000 meters in what was his first track race in four years. We have a few people banged up, so our team will be a little deeper once we are all healthy.”

The Lancers’ next meet is on Friday at the Trine Indoor Classic in Angola, Ind.

Lady Lancers Win Third Straight

January 26th, 2015

Pictured is Gabby Bryant driving against Taylor. She scored 17 points in Grace's win.

Grace’s women’s basketball continued its climb up the Crossroads League standings, muscling its way to a 66-62 victory over Taylor on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (12-10, 5-5 CL) tied a season-low with nine turnovers to help avenge an earlier loss against the Trojans. With the win, Grace moved into a tie for sixth place in the league standings, just two games out of second.

Allison Kauffman impressed in the victory, leading all players with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Starting off the game, Taylor jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead to prompt an early timeout from head coach Scott Blum. Grace’s offense sputtered over the first eight minutes of action, managing just two points.

The Lady Lancers’ offense started the game hitting 1-of-9 from the floor with three turnovers. Taylor used Grace’s offensive woes to go ahead 23-11 midway into the first half, but the Lady Lancers used a furious rally to climb back into contention.

A 12-2 run sparked Grace’s comeback, allowing the Lady Lancers to trail by two 29-27 at the half. Grace earned its points down low, scoring 20 of its 27 points from the paint.


Grace claimed its first lead of the game two minutes into the second half after back-to-back scores from Gabby Bryant and Darian Patton put Grace ahead 32-31.

The lead changed hands four times over the next five minutes, foreshadowing what would be a tense finish to the game.

Grace thought it had pulled away after ripping off 11 unanswered points midway into the half. The final points of Grace’s run came on a three-point play from Sarah Feasby. She converted a steal and fastbreak layup to put Grace ahead 54-46 with 8:30left in the game.

The Trojans (13-9, 6-4 CL) were far from finished, however. Taylor used a 14-4 run over the next 4:39, clawing back on top 60-58 with less than four minutes remaining.

Grace’s defense clamped down at that point as Taylor would not make another field goal for the remainder of the contest. Micah Pollard tied the game 60-60 on a drive to the basket, and Kauffman put Grace ahead with a pair of free throws.

Taylor hit two free throws of its own to tie the game at 62-62 with 58 seconds left, and Pollard came through with another clutch driving basket 15 seconds later to put Grace on top for good. After Kauffman came up with Grace’s 10th steal of the game on Taylor’s next possession, Gabby Bryant sealed the victory with two free throws.

For the game Grace forced Taylor into 18 turnovers, enjoying 26 points off the Trojans’ miscues. Grace made just 39 percent of its field goals compared to 46 percent for Taylor, but the Lady Lancers took care of the basketball with three turnovers in the second half.

Bryant had the second-highest scoring output of her career with 17 points, hitting 6-of-12 from the floor. Feasby’s 11 points and Pollard’s 10 points gave Grace a crucial spark off the bench, and Kelsie Peterson netted seven points.

The Lady Lancers now face a stiff six-game road streak. Grace will play at league-leading Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday at 7 p.m.. Grace’s next home game is on Feb. 18 against Mt. Vernon Nazarene.

Grace Soars Above Trojans

January 26th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team continued its torrid pace on the season with a 70-61 victory at Taylor on Saturday.

The Lancers (17-5, 7-3 Crossroads League) have now won four straight and seven of their past eight. After starting 1-2 in league play, Grace will have a chance to move into first place in the CL on Tuesday. Grace will host NAIA defending national champion and current league leader Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday 7 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Grace led for all but one possession on Saturday in Upland after opening the game’s scoring with a free throw from Dennis Williams. Williams, who scored 10 points in the first half, also netted the final points of the period to put the Lancers on top 33-30. Brandon Vanderhegghen also tallied 10 points in the first half.

The Trojans (11-11, 2-8 CL) refused to make life easy for the Lancers. After Grace built up an eight-point lead a few minutes in the second half, the Trojans battled back to within one point at 38-37.

The teams traded baskets over the next three minutes until a 3-pointer by Taylor’s Keaton Hendricks gave the Trojans their first lead of the game at 45-44 with 9:07 remaining.

Logan Irwin and Kyle Fillman hit two free throws apiece on Grace’s next two possessions, and Irwin then converted a 3-point play to reestablish a six-point edge. Williams scored six consecutive points in the paint to give Grace the cushion they needed.

Taylor was forced to foul Grace down the stretch, and the Lancers responded by drilling seven free throws in the final minute en route to the nine-point victory.

All five starters for Grace scored in double figures. Williams led all players with 17 points to go along with six rebounds and three blocks. Vanderhegghen filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists, and Irwin had 11 points, 5 assists and 4 boards.

Niko Read finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, and Kyle Fillman tallied 10 points and three boards.

Grace shot 38 percent from the floor compared to Taylor’s 44 percent. The Lancers had a significant advantage at the foul line, however, making 26 free throws. The Trojans, conversely, were just 4-of-8 from the free throw line.

The Lancers also forced the Trojans into 16 turnovers defensively. Grace had nine turnovers and also assisted on 13 of its 20 made field goals.

Grace Releases 2015 Logo for NCCAA Basketball Championships

January 22nd, 2015

March Madness is fast approaching Kosciusko County. Grace College, who hosts the 2015 NCCAA Div. I Men’s and Women’s Basketball National Championships, has released the official tournament logo and poster.

The unique national event, held March 18-21 at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, features eight of the premier men’s and women’s college basketball teams in the nation. The MOCC will host 24 basketball games over four days, culminating with Championship Saturday to crown both a men’s and women’s national champion.

Wednesday and Thursday of the national tournaments consists of eight games apiece, tipping off at 8:30 a.m. and running until after 10 p.m. Last year’s tournaments saw Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) take the men’s national title and Union (Tenn.) win the women’s banner. Grace’s men’s basketball team finished as the national runners-up in 2014.

Tickets for the event are $30 for a four-day pass or $10 for a one-day pass. Children and students can purchase a discounted $5 one-day pass. Call (574) 372-5100 ext. 6266 for ticket or sponsor information. Visit the official tournament website for more information.

Tournament sponsors Biomet, DePuy Synthes and Zimmer are included on the tournament logo. The logo was designed by BrandPoet, the marketing arm of Grace College.