Written by Katie Morford Thursday, 16 February 2012 23:11
The Tabor men ran out of gas in the second half and let a halftime lead slip away for an 80-68 loss tonight versus Sterling College. But the Bluejay women pulled off an upset win in their rematch tonight, topping the Warriors, 50-35. The split gives the men a 14-14 record overall and 10-7 in conference play, leaving them still in fourth place in the KCAC, and puts the women at 6-21 and 4-13.
MEN - The Jays knew they'd have to bring out their A-game to get a win against a Sterling team that beat them on the road a few weeks ago, and they did just that in the first half, coming out on the better end of the deal in a hard-fought battle.
Sterling took a quick 6-2 lead but play really heated up 3:30 into the game when Cody Arnold and Gavin Serene drained back-to-back three-pointers to give Tabor an 8-6 lead at 14:11.
That sparked a back-and-forth fight that saw six lead changes in 9:30 of play time. Finally Kyle Wallace scored at 9:32 and Serene followed it up with another basket from the perimeter to give Tabor a lead they would deny Sterling the rest of the half. Once the Warriors drew within one point of the Jays, but Tabor hit three buckets from three-point range - from Serene, Wallace, and forward Max Frise - in the last seven minutes of the half to help the Bluejays to a slim 40-35 lead at the break.
The second half was a different story altogether.
Tabor came out sluggish and tired-looking, turning over the ball and going soft on the defensive end. Sterling put together a 12-6 run to start the half and take the lead at 14:34, 47-46. The Warriors drew away before Arnold tied it up again from three-point range. A flurry of baskets on both ends concluded with Sterling taking a two-point lead with 5:55 left, then drawing away with a 17-6 run to close out the final minutes of the game. Sterling out-scored the Bluejays, 45-28, in the second half.
Hillsboro alum Serene led the team in scoring for the second game in a row, putting up 16 points that included four baskets from three-point range. Wallace scored 13 points and Ryan Chippeaux and Arnold each chipping in 12 points. Half of Arnold's points came from beyond the arc, helping the Bluejays to go 7-11 for 63 percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes of play. They also shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 38 percent in the second.
But Sterling out-rebounded a smaller Tabor team, 40-21, to give the Warriors a seven-point advantage over the Bluejays in second-chance points. They also had 12 points off turnovers to Tabor's six points.
WOMEN - Tabor combined for a strong team effort out of the gate, giving them an 11-0 scoring run and a 13-4 lead four minutes into the game. Sterling rallied for a nine-point scoring burst to draw within one, but My-Chal Duncan found the basket for the Bluejays to make it 15-12 with 5:18 remaining.
The Warriors again narrowed Tabor's lead to one point 42 seconds later, but Katlyn Mary scored to spark an 8-2 run that included a three-pointer from Whitney Frise with 15 seconds left. Tabor closed out the first half with a 23-16 lead.
Tabor has struggled at times to play two solid halves, often giving up an early lead, but tonight the Jays quickly put those fears to rest. They kept well in control of the game, out-scoring Sterling, 27-29, in the second half.
Mary sank a long three-pointer at 14:51 to give Tabor their first double-digit lead, 31-20. The Jays keep up a consistent scoring effort, earning them the final 14-point margin, but they really shone on the defensive end.
Tabor converted defense into offense all night long, scoring off steals and giving a strong performance on the boards to out-rebound the Warriors, 44-40. They practically shut down Sterling's high-powered offense, allowing no baskets from the perimeter.
It was truly a team victory for the Jays, as Mary was the only player in double digits, with 14 points, but Honn and Frise each scored nine points, Paust had eight and Molly Dick added six points. Duncan led on the glass with eight rebounds.
COMING UP - The Bluejays are slated to host the University of Saint Mary Saturday to close out regular-season play. The Bluejay men will have their work cut out for them to find a win over the Spires, who currently lead the conference. The women will look to get a win and give them a chance to enter post-season play, as they are currently just below the Spires in the KCAC standings.