Snikkers is Sweet as Knights Capture First Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Title Since 2000
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Calvin’s 10-year drought is over. On Saturday night, Calvin captured its first Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic title since 2000, defeating East Beltline rival Cornerstone 81-76 in the championship game at the Aquinas College Sturrus Sports and Center. The tournament crown is Calvin’s third overall. The Knights previously won in 1999 and 2000.
Cornerstone (7-1) came into Saturday’s game undefeated and ranked fourth in the most recent NAIA Division II poll but Calvin came out dictating the pace, jumping out to a 21-13 lead. Cornerstone roared back with 12 unanswered points to take a 25-21 lead but Calvin (3-2) regained the momentum with a 13-3 run over the final five minutes of the first half with sophomore Tom Snikkers (Unity Christian HS) scoring 10 of Calvin’s 13 points in the stretch. The late scoring spurt gave the Knights a 46-39 halftime lead.
The Golden Eagles slowed the tempo in the second half and regained the lead at 61-58 on a three-pointer by Kelvin DeVries with 8:51 remaining. Cornerstone then went up 64-60 on a triple by Justin Yoder but the Knights fought back with 10 unanswered points with seniors Brent Schuster (Denver, CO/Denver Christian HS) and Danny Rodts (Niles/Niles HS) swishing clutch three-pointers in the Calvin comeback bid.
Snikkers followed with a clutch triple of his own with time ticking down on the shot clock and just 2:14 left on the game clock that put Calvin up 75-68. Cornerstone later clawed back to within three at 79-76 but a pair of Schuster free throws with nine seconds remaining helped seal the win for the Maroon and Gold.
“I thought we had a very determined effort, played with a great deal of energy and really got after things,” said Calvin men’s basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. “One of the things that was a point of emphasis before the game tonight was our rebounding and our guys really responded to the challenge.”
Calvin finished the game with a 39-22 rebounding advantage led by Snikkers and Schuster with eight and seven rebounds respectively. Snikkers finished with a game-high 20 points and was named the recipient of the Ray McCahill Tournament Most Valuable Player trophy. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Schuster who also scored 14 points in the win.
Freshman Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) also had an outstanding game with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals while Rodts and senior Brad Schnyders (Unity Christian HS) had 10 points apiece.
Calvin shot 50 percent overall and 83.3 (15 of 18) from the free throw line.
“We’ll enjoy this one for the next day or so, that’s for sure but on Monday, it’s back to work,” said Vande Streek. “We played well tonight but we still have a long way to go which is encouraging because this team has a high ceiling and can get much better.”
Cornerstone was led in defeat by Ronald Bates with 15 points while Yoder had 14 points off the bench. The Golden Eagles were proficient from three-point range, connecting on 13 of 22 (.591) from long range but were outscored by eight points at the free throw line as Cornerstone was 7 of 12 at the charity stripe including a pair of critical misses on the front end of bonus situations late in the contest.
Snikkers and Schuster were joined on the all-tournament team by Bates, Yoder, Will Bowser of Hope and A.J. Schmidt of Aquinas. Hope defeated Aquinas 92-69 in Saturday’s consolation game.
Calvin is now 12-12 all-time in the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Tournament including 5-5 against Cornerstone. Snikkers is the third Calvin player to receive tournament MVP honors as Aaron Winkle was so honored in 1999 and Bryan Foltice in 2000.
Calvin returns to action next Friday and Saturday when it competes in the CCIW/MIAA Challenge, scheduled to be hosted by Carthage College this year. Calvin will face Wheaton on Friday (December 3) and host Carthage on December 4.