|Mike Stoecker powers up for strong move to the basket against a Bethany forward. Stoecker finished with three points in Tabor’s 79-58 win over Bethany Saturday. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press|
Zach Vanselow threw down a rim-rocking dunk 53 seconds into the game, drawing a foul in the process. He knocked down the free throw, then alternated mid-range jumpers with Mike Rousell, giving Tabor an 11-6 lead 3:08 into the first half.
The Bluejays did not relent on their way to a 36-22 halftime lead.
Kyle Kroeker banked in a floater, Orson Thomas added a finger roll layup and Vanselow squared up for a 12-footer during the subsequent 6-3 stretch.
Tabor led 17-9, but Bethany outscored the Bluejays 12-7 over the next 5:01.
Vanselow broke the run with an offensive rebound and putback and Tabor rattled off 10 consecutive points.
After a time out, Tabor closed out the half on a 12-1 run—and Vanselow was in the middle of the action at both ends, with two more field goals and a blocked shot.
Bethany put together an 11-6 run out of the gate in the second half and used a 5-0 stretch to close the gap to 42-33 with 15:17 to play.
Kroeker scored off an assist from Vanselow at 14:59, and Vanselow scored off an assist from Whitelaw 25 seconds later.
Then Whitelaw stripped Zack Sullivan and was fouled intentionally with a clear path to the basket. He hit both free throws, and Tabor retained possession. On the ensuing inbounds play, Jared Hett collected an offensive rebound and scored.
The run swelled to 13-0, and Tabor expanded its lead to 26 points over the next 9:29.
While Vanselow stood out, the Bluejay team effort was well-rounded. Ten players scored a field goal and 12 recorded at least one assist. Orson Thomas turned in an 11 point, 10 rebound double-double. Rousell finished with 12. Tabor out-rebounded Bethany 48-26.
The Bluejays hung with the conference leaders for the first 9:16 Thursday night in Hillsboro.
The Bluejays put together a 10-2 run and grabbed a 20-15 lead 8:04 into the game.
Then Mychel Henderson’s deadeye shooting took over, turning a 20-17 Bluejay lead into a 23-20 Coyote advantage with consecutive 3-pointers.
Henderson continued to shell the Bluejays from beyond the arc, scoring two more triples during a 32-8 run that effectively ended the game heading into halftime. He scored 19 points in the first period and finished with 27 on 10-of-12 marksmanship from the field.
But in the second half, the Bluejays limited Henderson’s touches and forced 11 turnovers during a 15-3 run that began with Jared Hett knocking down two foul shots with 10:23 to go.
While the Coyote offense sputtered through a parade of turnovers and lousy shots, Tabor’s accelerated. Orson Thomas followed Hett’s free throws with a tip drill lay-in, and Zach Vanselow banked in a 6-foot jumper assisted by Kyle De Blonk.
Thomas drew a foul and knocked down his free throws, then set up Jordan Funk for ashort jumper with a nice interior pass. Then Vanselow earned a trip to the charity stripe, fouling out Coyote senior Tony Boone in the process. Vanselow hit both free throws.
After that, Aaron Whitelaw set up Funk, who converted a short shot to make it 69-56 with 5:56 left. The Coyotes called time out, and Henderson reentered the game.
But with Thomas matching Henderson’s every move, the Coyotes continued to sputter.
The matchup left more room to manuever in the paint, and the visitors began to attack the basket with ferocity.
Rewarded repeatedly with free throws for their effort, and scoring their first field goals in 3:58, Kansas Wesleyan knocked back Tabor’s late charge and cruised to an 85-71 win.
Thomas led the Bluejays with 14. Six others scored 7 points or more: Funk (10), Whitelaw (9), Hett (8), Mike Rousell (8), Vanselow (8) and Kyle Kroeker (7).
Coming—Tabor (4-6) plays McPherson (5-5) Thursday night in Hillsboro. The Bluejays play Saint Mary (0-10) Saturday evening in Leavenworth.