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Waldorf falls to Grace

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

FOREST CITY – Grace University used a full-court press to erase a 10-point second-half deficit and hand the Waldorf College men’s basketball team an 87-83 loss on Friday.

It marked the second time this season that the Royals (12-13) have held off the Warriors (15-10).

“Our preparation and practice wasn’t good for the press and it showed,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “That’s what got them back into the game both times we played.”

Tyler Parrish led the Warriors with a career-high 30 points, hauled in five rebounds and handed out two assists. The 6-foot-2 senior guard from Odin, Illinois shot 55.6 percent, going 10-of-18 from the field and 4-of-8 (50 percent) from 3-point range. Parrish also knocked down 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) attempts at the free-throw line.

Waldorf junior June Prowell added 19 points, a career-high eight assists and four rebounds. Prowell hit 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) shots from the floor, went 3-of-6 (50 percent) from downtown and 4-of-5 (80 percent) at the charity stripe.

Senior Erik Brewer provided 17 points, six rebounds and two assists for the Warriors. Brewer sank 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) attempts behind the arc and converted on all five of his trips to the foul line.

Waldorf sophomore Kaden Verdin scored seven points. Junior Michael Morgan turned in six points, six boards and three assists. Sophomore Eric English finished with two points while freshmen Devon Collins andIsaiah Curry contributed one point apiece.

Grace’s Hakeem Stewart torched the Warriors, pouring in a career-high 38 points. Stewart sported a 50-percent shooting clip, finishing 11-of-22 from the field and 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from the perimeter. He knocked down all 13 of his foul shots despite entering the night shooting just 55.3 percent from the line.

LeRoy Anderson recorded a double-double for the Royals, scoring 15 points and ripping down 10 rebounds to lead Grace to a 42-31 advantage on the boards. Anderson shot 71.4 percent, going 5-of-7 from the floor.

The Royals also received 10 points from Galat Toang, who helped his team outscore Waldorf’s bench by a 20-9 margin.

Finding good offensive looks wasn’t a problem for the Warriors, who shot 27-of-58 (46.6 percent) from the field and 9-of-18 (50 percent) from 3-point land. They turned the ball over 14 times, allowing Grace to claim a 23-15 advantage in points off turnovers.

“Our offense was just fine,” Jenkins said. “At the end of the day, it came down to taking care of the basketball and rebounding. We didn’t do a very good job when it mattered most.”

The Royals, who turned the ball over 13 times, turned in a 30-of-65 (46.2-percent) shooting effort from the field and a 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) finish behind the arc.

Grace outscored Waldorf 42-30 in the paint. The Royals also owned an edge at the foul line where they converted on 22-of-25 (88 percent) attempts. Waldorf finished 20-of-27 (74.1 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Warriors came away with an 18-14 advantage in fast-break points. Boxing out Grace was an issue all night. The Royals controlled the offensive glass, 15-10 and outscored Waldorf 15-7 in second-chance points.

“Giving up 15 offensive rebounds is unacceptable,” Jenkins said.

Grace put together a strong start, racing to an 18-5 lead less than eight minutes into the game. The Warriors responded with a 19-10 run to cut the Royals’ lead to 28-24 with 4 minutes, 1 second to play in the opening half. Grace went back in front by as many as seven points and held a 38-32 cushion at halftime.

The Royals led by eight points early in the second half, but Waldorf stormed in front 56-50 with 10:30 to play following a 24-12 run.

Morgan threw down a dunk following a steal and fast-break pass from Prowell, pushing the Warriors to a 65-55 lead with 8:04 remaining. The Royals then brought the press and began to chip away at the deficit after forcing Waldorf into turnovers.

“If we would’ve taken care of the ball and rebounded the basketball, we would’ve won the game,” Jenkins said.

Stewart connected on a jump shot as Grace went on top 70-69 with 4:22 to go. The Royals stretched their lead to five points, but back came the Warriors. Prowell drilled a fast-break 3-pointer off an assist from Morgan, lifting Waldorf to an 81-80 edge with 1:37 left on the clock.

Wilson Markus tied the game, splitting a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession. Stewart dropped in a go-ahead layup with 31 seconds to play. Prowell scored on a tip-in, pulling the Warriors within two points as the Royals owned an 85-83 lead with seven seconds remaining. That’s all the closer Waldorf would get as the Warriors were forced to foul. Stewart sealed the win as he knocked down two free throws.

Grace slipped past Waldorf 78-76 on Jan. 23 at Omaha, Nebraska. The second time around, the Warriors saw their four-game winning streak derailed by miscues.

“We have to be better with our sense of urgency and attention to detail,” Jenkins said. “We’ll find a way to bounce back.”

Waldorf owns a 5-6 record in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) standings and closes out conference play, hosting the University of Jamestown (12-9, 4-4) next Saturday at 4 p.m.

“Jamestown’s a very good team,” Jenkins said. “They run a very good offense.”

Jamestown’s Brequan Tucker is averaging 21.5 points a game, which ranks 20th among National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II players. Tucker has a supporting cast of teammates, who make the Jimmies a challenging opponent.

“He’s a very good player, but they also have some other pieces around him that make them tough,” Jenkins said. “We will definitely have to defend well and rebound the ball well to beat them.”

With a full week of practice between games, the Warriors know they’ll have to come ready to go against Jamestown.

“We’ve got a week to practice and a week to prepare,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got to have five big days of practice.”