LANSING, MI – Maranatha put everyone in the Midwest Region on notice at the 2014 Midwest Region Tournament, showing it has what it takes to compete against a top-10 team in Division II, with a close, 94-87 loss to the #3 Grace Bible Tigers in the semifinals, after a 71-61 win over Moody Bible on Thursday.
Grace ultimately pulled out the Region title against the #1 seed, Kuyper College, but it was Maranatha that gave the champions stiff competition, after Kuyper fell by nearly 20 points in the championship match.
In the team’s tournament opener against Moody, Maranatha followed up last Friday’s win against the Archers, with another victory, this time by a score of 71-61. The team was propelled by freshmen Adam Courtney (), who went a sizzling, 5-5 from beyond the arc, finishing with 15 points, and Brady Moses (Lodi, WI), whose 20 points led the team.
Moses also went 6-8 from the free throw line, and a team-wide effort of 6-11 (55%) from three-point range, put Maranatha on top, 34-23 at halftime.
But the Crusaders would have to endure a scary second half, in which Moody pulled to within several points of Maranatha’s lead, but pulling away in the closing minutes to advance to the Semifinal match, against Grace.
Despite an 86-79 win on February 21, and an 18-16 lead in the semifinal, Maranatha was subject to a Tigers’ squad that shot 61% from the field, throughout the game, and 74% from the free-throw line.
Grace had five different players in double-digits, including Jared Bradford, who accumulated 22 points, and went 12-13 from the charity stripe.
Maranatha finished with two 20-point scorers, in freshman Brady Moses (20), and Brett Cashner (21), as Moses distributed five assists while Cashner grabbed seven boards.
Courtney had another big performance, with 13 points, and five rebounds, while freshman center Zach Terpstra (Baron, WI) posted 15 points on 5-6 (45%) shooting from the field.
The teams were fairly even on the boards, with a slight edge in favor of Grace, at 31-29, and the Tigers managed 10 steals on defense, compared to Maranatha’s one.
Maranatha concludes a strong 2013-14 campaign, in which the team posted the most wins in over 10 years, and retains all but one player, senior forward Kyle Kutz (Cambridge, WI).
The Crusaders figure to be a contender in the Midwest Region again, after several top teams will graduate crucial players.