Pictured is Frankie Davidson handling the ball during Grace's win over St. Francis on Wednesday. Davidson finished with a team-high 24 points.
Pictured is Frankie Davidson handling the ball during Grace's win over St. Francis on Wednesday. Davidson finished with a team-high 24 points.
WINONA LAKE - Grace’s men’s basketball team flexed its muscles during a 90-61 win over St. Francis on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League Tournament.

The NAIA No. 4-ranked Lancers won their eighth straight game, improving their record to 26-3.

Grace, who is seeded No. 1 in the CL Tourney, will host Marian on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.

The Lancers had nine players register a point in a balanced effort; six players had at least nine points.

Frankie Davidson led Grace in scoring with 24 points, shooting 8 of 11 from the floor, 4 of 6 on 3-pointers and 4 of 4 from the foul line.

Grace won the regular season league championship and is seeking to defend its league tournament title from a year ago.

The Cougars played much of the game without a true post player, giving Grace an immediate size advantage across the court.

Early on, however, Grace found scoring against USF’s zone from the outside. The Lancers began the game with back-to-back 3-pointers. Two early triples from Carter Stoltzfus put the Lancers on top 11-4 early.

Brett Sickafoose then provided another boost midway into the half, swishing two more triples to push Grace’s lead to 27-8.

The Lancers’ cushion grew to 24 points at 33-9. The Cougars managed to put together a small rally to close the half but still trailed 43-30 at halftime.

Davidson provided a deadly shooting touch, amassing 12 points in the opening half with two 3-pointers, and Stoltzfus scored 10.

Grace shot 61 percent as a team in the half, including 50 percent from beyond the arc. USF was muted to 43 percent as a team, including 27 percent on 3s.

In the opening minutes of the second half, the Lancers ripped off 13 unanswered points. Elijah Malone finished an and-1, and Davidson had five points during the spurt.

Grace’s lead never dipped below 20 points for the final 17 minutes of regulation.

The Lancers’ combination of speed and size gave USF fits. The Cougars shot under 30 percent from the floor after halftime and hit just one of their nine 3-point tries (11 percent).

Grace finished the game shooting 56 percent from the floor. The Lancers also canned 46 percent from the 3-point line, hitting 12 of 26.

Stoltzfus finished with 13 points with three boards, and Malone had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 22 minutes of work.

Brycen Graber shot 4 of 7 from the floor while producing 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots.

Sickafoose hit three 3-pointers for his nine points, and Jakob Gibbs tallied nine points and three assists.

Jake Wadding scored six and pulled down four rebounds, Ian Scott had 4 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds, and Cade Gibbs had 2 points, 4 rebounds and a game-high 6 assists.

As the No. 1 seed, Grace will host the rest of the league tournament if they continue to win. If Grace is able to advance past Marian on Saturday at 1 p.m., then the Lancers would host the tournament championship next week on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against either Huntington or Taylor.

Grace Basketball To Host NAIA First And Second Rounds In March

WINONA LAKE - On Thursday, Grace College was announced as a host site for the NAIA First and Second Rounds for men’s basketball.

The Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center was selected as one of 16 regional sites for the first two rounds of the NAIA tournament. It marks the first time that Grace will play host to an NAIA men’s basketball championship event.

The Lancers will welcome three other teams to the Winona Lake Bracket on March 7-8. The winner of the Winona Lake Bracket will earn a spot to the NAIA’s final site in Kansas City, Mo.

The First Round games will be held on the evening of March 7 with the winners squaring off the next day on March 8.

The NAIA will announce the complete field of the NAIA tournament on Thursday, March 2, which will reveal the three teams that will travel to Winona Lake.

The NAIA men’s basketball tournament consists of 64 teams. The final 16 teams who advance from the First and Second Round brackets will play out the remainder of the tournament in Kansas City at the historic Municipal Auditorium.

“We are extremely honored and humbled to be selected as an NAIA host site. We look forward to showcasing the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center and our community in Kosciusko County,” said Grace Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe. “We are excited to welcome the remaining three teams and their fans to our campus and look forward to creating a first-class environment for the tournament.”

Grace is no stranger to hosting national tournaments. Grace has hosted NAIA opening round matches for both men’s soccer and women’s soccer. Additionally, Grace’s arena has hosted the NCCAA national men’s and women’s basketball championships since 2012.

The Lancers, ranked No. 4 in the NAIA, have a 26-3 record and won the regular season Crossroads League championships.