Tabor split their games with Friends Thursday night. The women were unable to hold off a 42-34 Falcon victory and dropped to 14-3 in the KCAC, 18-9 overall, while the men defeated Friends by three, 59-56, and improved to 13-4, 14-12.
WOMEN – The Bluejay offense struggled to get shots to fall in Thursday’s 42-34 loss to new KCAC leader Friends, finishing the night with 25 percent shooting from the field (13-53) and just 8 percent from behind the arc (2-24).
The game began with the Bluejays in front, 5-0, and Tabor built a six-point, 11-5 lead when Hannah Paust made a second-chance basket with 11:02 left in the opening half. But Tabor stalled at 11, and could not get a shot to fall the next six and a half minutes. Friends seized the opportunity and took a 12-11 lead with 5:38 left before the half. Katlyn Mary broke Tabor’s scoring drought with a basket at 4:36, but Friends took the lead for good, 15-13, with a basket behind the arc at the 4:09 mark. The half ended with an 18-14 Friends lead.
After a Friends three-point basket eight seconds into the second half, Mary scored three straight baskets to narrow the gap to 21-20 at 16:14. Tabor again drew within one, 25-24, on a Nikki Lewis basket at 12:45, and the Bluejays found a small spark when Mary scored off a steal and followed with a three-point basket less than one minute later to draw within 33-31 at 8:08, but Tabor turnovers and missed shots contributed to a 7-0 Falcon surge that left the Bluejays trailing by nine, 31-40, with 4:17 left to play. Amber Tamez got a shot to fall with 1:54 remaining, and Lewis scored Tabor’s final point from the charity stripe, but Friends held on for the eight-point victory, boosting the Falcons into first place in the conference. With the loss, Tabor dropped to a second-place tie with Southwestern College.
Mary led the Bluejays with a game-high 16 points. Paust grabbed 10 rebounds.
MEN – Tabor and Friends entered Thursday’s matchup locked in a three-way tie with Sterling for second place in the conference, and the Bluejays earned the 59-56 victory to remain tied with Sterling at number two.
The Falcons jumped to a 10-2 lead on a three-point basket at 17:12, but a Cameron Rust three-pointer followed by a Brent Jackson basket narrowed the gap to 10-7 with 15:44 left in the opening half. The Falcons maintained the lead and again widened the gap to eight, 19-11, with a three-point basket at 9:56. But Reggie Butler answered with a basket behind the arc and followed with a consecutive score to narrow the Falcon lead to 19-16 with 8:40 left in the half. Tabor drew within 27-26 when Jackson scored at 2:40, but Friends held a 32-29 lead at the break.
Marc Hopkinson opened second half scoring with a basket off a steal. Two consecutive Robbie Samuel baskets ignited an 8-0 Tabor surge that gave the Bluejays their largest lead of the night, 39-34, with 16:03 left to play. But it was a back-and-forth battle down the stretch, and the lead changed hands 11 times in the half. Friends’ final lead, 56-54, came off a three-point basket with 4:47 left to play. But Samuel was fouled on a three-point shot and made all three free throws, giving Tabor the lead for good with 4:33 remaining. Neither team scored the next four minutes until Samuel drained a basket with 31 seconds left to boost the Tabor margin to three, 59-56. Friends missed a three-point shot with less than 15 seconds left, but a missed Tabor shot at the charity stripe kept it a one-possession game. Friends brought the ball down court, but defensive pressure by the Bluejays forced a Falcon turnover, and Tabor held on for the three-point victory.
Samuel led all scorers with 15 points. Ryan Chippeaux recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.