FORT WAYNE – For the second straight game, Grace College’s men’s basketball team went on the road and upset a ranked team.

Charlie Warner sank the game-deciding free throw with just over a minute left in overtime, securing a 77-76 victory for the Lancers against No. 17 St. Francis.

The win moves the Lancers into a two-way tie atop the Crossroads League with Indiana Wesleyan.

Jaret Sons recorded a double-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Myles Johnson was a nuisance in the paint, altering numerous shots and adding 13 points along with eight rebounds.

The game started as a defensive battle with neither team finding any offensive rhythm. Braxton Linville helped the Lancers (12-5, 4-1 CL) keep pace with St. Francis, scoring five of Grace’s first seven points.

The teams traded baskets, and Johnson gave the Lancers their first lead of the game at 17-16 midway into the first half.

 The Cougars (14-4, 3-3 CL) wasted no time regaining their lead on the next possession and building a 25-17 advantage.

The Lancers answered back with a 10-2 run, fueled by four straight points from Matt Jennings and brought the game back even at 27-27.

Grace went the final five minutes without scoring and went into the half down 33-27.

Jennings and Haden Deaton each had 10 points at the break. Sons led the Lancers with five rebounds.

Despite shooting 41 percent from the floor, Grace struggled from deep. Linville was the lone Lancer to connect from beyond the 3-point arc as Grace shot 1-7.

The Lancers struggled to keep the Cougars off the offensive glass in the first half, giving up eight offensive boards.

The Lancers came out of the half hitting on all cylinders. Grace quickly erased the deficit and built a 50-39 lead. Sons put an exclamation point on the run with a pair of 3-point baskets that forced the reeling Cougars to call a timeout.

USF seemed to regain its composure coming out of the timeout and was able to fight back into the game. The Cougars clawed back and tied the game at 64 with just over two minutes left in regulation.

St. Francis regained the lead and threatened to close out Grace 70-68. Sons hit a clutch shot and brought the game back even at 70.

Each team had one more possession, but neither side could find the winning basket, sending the game to overtime.

The overtime period saw the two teams continue to battle neck and neck. Sons scored Grace’s first four points of the period to put the Lancers ahead 74-72.

Charlie Warner then scored the next three points for Grace, including the go-ahead free throw with 1:27 remaining.

The Lancers’ defense then secured the victory. Grace held USF scoreless on the final three possessions, and Sons contested the Cougars’ last-second jumpshot which missed the mark.

The Lancers shot 45 percent from deep in the second half and overtime. USF was limited to just two second-chance points over the final 25 minutes.

Deaton added 15 points and five rebounds, and Matt Jennings chipped in 10 points off the bench.

The Lancers will return home to host No. 15 Spring Arbor on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

– ­­­Grant Cook

Offense quiet at No. 13 Cougars

FORT WAYNE - Grace’s women’s basketball team ended its five-game road trip with a 63-56 loss at No. 13 St. Francis on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (12-6, 3-3 Crossroads League) suffered their lowest scoring output of the season; Grace shot just 36 percent from the floor, including 28 percent on 3-pointers.

The Cougars (13-4, 4-2 CL) never trailed in Saturday’s game, although the lead was single digits for almost the full contest.

Grace’s scoring issues started in the first quarter. The Lady Lancers shot 4-of-17 (24 percent) from the floor in the period compared to 53 percent for the Cougars.

USF led by seven after one quarter, and the Cougars stretched the lead to 12 midway through the second quarter.

Grace ended the half with momentum, however. The Lady Lancers held the Cougars to just two points for the final 5:39 of the first half, taking advantage with a 12-0 run to tie the score.

Kyannah Stull scored five points during that spurt, and Micaela Box hit a triple.

USF scored in the final minute and claimed a 29-27 advantage at halftime. Stull’s 12 points at the break led all players.

On two occasions, Grace cut the gap to just one point during the third quarter. But each time, the Cougars had a response. Grace faced an eight-point deficit by the quarter’s end.

With 7:24 remaining in regulation, Grace still trailed 52-45. Kamryn Hostetler caught fire, scoring in the paint and hitting a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to put pressure on the Cougars.

USF hit a triple on the next possession, but Stull countered with a trey of her own to make the score 58-56 with 4:30 to play.

But Grace’s offense dried up at that moment. The Lady Lancers were unable to score again for the final four minutes, missing its last five shots to go along with a turnover.

As a result, USF pulled away for the final seven-point margin of victory.

Stull finished with a game-high 18 points and five assists, hitting four 3-pointers. Hostetler also reached double digits with 16 points and two steals while also making four triples.

Box scored eight points with two assists off the bench, Brooke Treadway pulled down eight boards, and Lexi Minix and Vironnica Drake each scored five.

The Lady Lancers return home on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. game against Spring Arbor.

Grace Wins 11 Events At Trine

ANGOLA, Ind. - Grace’s track and field teams enjoyed a banner day at Trine’s Keith Turner Alumni Invitational on Saturday.

The Lancers combined to win 11 events throughout the day and set a new school record. The men’s team finished second while the women were third overall.

Heather Plastow etched her name in the record books. She won the mile race in a school-record time of 5:20.82.

“This was a great result for an early-season race for Heather,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “She has improved dramatically in the past year and continues to reach for higher goals.”

Isaac Brown won two events by himself. He hit the NAIA “A” qualifying standard in the high jump, clearing 6-feet-8.25. He also won the triple jump with a distance of 41-3.75.

Nordia Campbell also won two events. She claimed the 60-meter dash at 8.03 seconds and the 200 at 26.52. The Lady Lancers swept the first five places in the 200.

Grace won both of the 4x400 relays. The men’s team of Brady Willard, Dylan Felger, Kyle Smith and Zach Johnson won in 3:30.38. The women’s foursome of Suzanne Sickafoose, Julia Malson, Campbell and Ashley Stoltzfus won in 4:08.64.

Rylin Bagarus won the 60 hurdles in 9.72 for the women, and Smith won the men’s 800 in a time of 2:00.07.

Dimitri Margaritidis, Logan Rufenacht, Isaac Beatty, Korry Hamlin and Luke Smith went 1-2-3-5-6 in the mile, all finishing in an eight-second span. Dylan Felger also claimed the 200 title after crossing the finish line in 23.19 seconds.

“This was probably one of the best early-season meets that we’ve had,” Raymond continued. “It wasn’t necessarily about records or qualifiers, but I just love the way everyone competed. If we continue to work this hard, good things will happen this season.”

The indoor season continues next Saturday with the Indiana Wesleyan Invitational.