Grace sweeps Foresters, wins third straight

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s women’s basketball team continued its climb up the Crossroads League standings with a 77-62 win at Huntington.

Wednesday’s win secured a season sweep of the Foresters (15-9, 8-5 CL), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll.

Vironnica Drake scored a season-high 18 points in the win after shooting 5-of-6 from the floor to go along with five rebounds and two assists.

The Lady Lancers (13-12, 7-6 CL) shot a season-best 56 percent from the floor as a team and also got to the free throw line 35 times.

Grace led from start to finish on Wednesday. Drake and Brooke Sugg got Grace off to a fast start with four quick points each, and the Lady Lancers pulled ahead early 11-4.

The second quarter saw Grace surge ahead by double digits. Huntington only trailed by two with 4:00 left in the half, but the Lady Lancers scored 13 unanswered points to end the half.

Kelsie Peterson and Lexi Minix buried back-to-back 3-pointers, and Kaylie Warble added four points; Grace went into halftime with a comfortable 38-23 lead.

The Foresters shot just 29 percent before halftime while Grace made 54 percent.

Huntington started to make noise in the third quarter. The Foresters implemented an aggressive defense, which gave Grace fits.

The Lady Lancers committed seven turnovers in the third quarter, and Huntington slashed Grace’s cushion down to one with 2:23 remaining in the period. Sugg helped stop the Foresters’ momentum with four straight points, and Grace led by five entering the last stanza.

Warble helped Grace start the fourth quarter on a strong note, converting an and-1 and another layup in the first two minutes. Two minutes later, Drake buried a triple to put Grace on top 65-54 with 5:37 left to play.

Grace refused to let Huntington get closer than eight points for the rest of the contest, easing away for the final 15-point margin of victory.

Warble enjoyed a career-high performance and her second double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Sugg and Micaela Box each scored 11 points, and Minix had eight points and nine boards.

The Lady Lancers will aim for their fourth straight win on Saturday, hosting rival Bethel at 1 p.m. as part of a doubleheader at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.