Entering the 2012 Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA) national basketball tournament in Joplin, MO, the Bears were seeded 7th out of 13 teams and walked away with their second fourth place finish in the last two years. “I was really proud of the way my guys finished out the season. We had to overcome a lot of different obstacles over the course of the year and this young group was able to pull it together and play some of their best ball when it counted the most,” said Head Coach Royce Bryan.
The Bears were able to go 4-1 down the stretch of the regular season. Including wins over conference foes Calvary Bible College (Kansas City, MO) and Ozark Christian College (Joplin, MO) to finish tied for third at 6-6 in Midwest Christian College play.
Ironically enough, the Bears drew 10th seeded Calvary Bible College in the opening round of the ACCA tournament on February 29th. Each team won close contests at home during the regular season, and the rubber match came down to the wire as well. Thanks to a great team effort, the Bears prevailed 87-79. Freshman Charles Brodhead (Lompoc, CA) led all scorers in the game with 37 points off of 12/18 shooting. Freshman Brandon Howarth (Dodge City, KS) had 16 points, Freshman Tanner Stevens (Haviland, KS) added 15 points, and Freshman Jeremy Smith (Great Bend, KS) put in 10 points while Freshman Austin Zamarripa (Great Bend, KS) dished out 7 assists.
On March 1st the Bears drew 2nd seeded Trinity Baptist (Jacksonville, MO). Even though the odds were heavily against the Bears, they bolted out of the gate for 38-32 halftime lead. Drawing from their first half successes, the Bears went blow for blow with Trinity Baptist. With under one minute to play, the shot clock winding down, and the game tied, freshman guard Smith was fouled and he capitalized on two free throws. Trinity’s last shot was off target and the Bears pulled off the upset 69-67. Brodhead and Howarth were both in double figures again, scoring 21 and 19.
The Bears semifinal game was against the Rhema Bible Eagles (Broken Arrow, OK) on March 2nd. Once again the Bears split their two regular season matches with Rhema, losing in Broken Arrow on January 17th and winning at Hockett Auditorium on January 31st. Neither team came out shooting well. The Eagles held a narrow halftime edge 30-28. The second half showed no improvement for the Bears, finishing the game shooting 21 of 62 (33%) from the field. The Bears came up short 61-78. Howarth, Smith and Brodhead all finished in doulbe figures with 17, 14, and 13 points.
With one game remaining, the Bears had their targets set on a 3rd place finish as they faced off against Multnomah University (Portland, OR). Once again, the Bears had yet another poor shooting night and were not able to out-shoot the three-point bombers from Oregon, falling 86-94. Brodhead led all scorers with 37 points on 13-26 shooting, Howarth added 18 points, and Smith had 10 points.
The Bears finished their 2011-12 campaign 13-16 overall.