Posted on 15 March 2012.
Grace Tigers, coached by Cedar Springs residents Gary Bailey and Dan George, are national champions again.
Coach Gary Bailey, of Cedar Springs, and assistant coach Dan George, also of Cedar Springs, led the Tigers of Grace Bible College to their fourth straight national championship last weekend.
It was an emotional but rewarding final game to end the careers of seven seniors, as the Tigers held off a talented and persistent Valley Forge Christian College team, 77-71, to win the 2012 NCCAA II National Championship and finish the season with a 25-10 record. For the seniors, it was their fourth consecutive title.
“‘FINISH’ has been our motto,” said senior captain and CCSN Player of the Game, Matt Kurtz (Lowell). “We want to make that a lifetime goal, not just for basketball.” Seniors Kurtz, Cameron Myers, David Steenstra, John Oostema, Carl Getty, Ryan Krombeen, and Cory Jamieson finished well.
The Tigers built a 13-point lead at the end of the first half, 43-30, on double digit scoring from seniors Cory Jamieson (Wayland) and Ryan Krombeen (Calvin Christian), their 3-2 zone defense, and Krombeen’s rebounding. But there was no quit in the Patriots. Valley Forge came out with intense pressure at the beginning of the second half and the Tiger lead evaporated as they found themselves trailing by four midway through the second half. But there was no quit in the Tigers, either, as they fought back and built a lead of 8 points with 2 minutes to go and held off the Patriots for the win.
It was a total team effort that sealed the deal for the Tigers. Kurtz and Krombeen combined for 26 rebounds. Jamieson led all scorers with 23 points, junior Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) had 19 points and 5 rebounds, Krombeen had 17 points, and senior John Oostema (Grand Rapids Christian) completed the double figure scoring for the Tigers with 10 points. Schutte and Jamieson were named to the All-Tournament Team and Jamieson was named Tournament MVP.
“We have tremendous respect for Coach John Mack and the Valley Forge team,” said Head Coach Gary Bailey, who had his father, John, on the bench for the game. “They were tremendous competitors and worthy opponents.” For Bailey and Assistant Coach Dan George, who have been together for seven years at Grace, this was their fifth national championship—2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
The Tigers wish to thank all of their fans and player families who have supported them this year!
Story courtesy of Grace Bible College