Written by Andrew Ottoson Tuesday, 16 January 2007 18:00Sterling came into Hillsboro on a frigid Saturday night with aspirations of grabbing the second-best record in the KCAC.
But Bluejay shooters Andy Brubacher and Tyler Weinbrenner caught fire to lead their team to victory, 84-73.
Mike Willis drilled a long jumper-a 2-pointer-that gave the home team a 10-4 lead 4:10 into play.
Sterling rallied back to make it 10-9, but high-percentage perimeter shooting helped the Jays push their lead to as many as 14 points in the first half.
Tabor assembled a 10-3 run to build a commanding 23-14 lead at 12:10, and the lead snowballed to 41-27 over the next 6:40.
Brubacher and Weinbrenner fired consecutive 3-pointers to give the Bluejays their biggest lead at 5:30.
Six-feet-ten-inch Sterling center Jonathan Woods put an exclamation point on the importance of effectiveness from beyond the arc with a pair of emphatic first-half shot blocks.
Woods combined with Landon Stover for a 12-3 run to end the half.
Stover scored seven unanswered points in the final 2:33.
But despite Woods' imposing interior presence-he had 12 points and 9 rebounds in the first half-and Stover's precision from the perimeter, the Bluejays carried a 44-39 lead into the intermission.
Stover hit consecutive 2-pointers at 12:11 and 11:42, and Tabor's lead melted to 56-53.
Kyle Kroeker hit a 3-point shot at 10:38 to push the lead back to six points, and Kroeker sparked the Bluejays again 3:46 later.
Sterling had closed the gap to 64-59, but Kroeker found Greg Munroe open for a clean look at a 2-point shot.
Then, 0:33 later, Kroeker looked to have an easy layup following a turnover.
Woods ran the Tabor guard down from behind, but picked up his fourth foul with an ill-advised attempt at a shot block.
Woods loudly disagreed with the call, and a referee ended his night by whistling a technical.
By the time Brubacher, who shot the technical-foul free throws, and Kroeker finished at the free-throw line, Tabor led 71-59.
Brubacher drew another foul 20 seconds later, and that pair of free throws gave the Bluejays another 14-point lead.
Sterling rallied again and came within two possessions of tying the game at 1:57.
Brubacher answered by scoring the next three points-a foul shot at 1:12 and a layup at 0:55-and effectively ended the game.
Four Bluejays scored double-digits: Brubacher (18 points) led the way, followed by Tyler Weinbrenner (17), Eric Weinbrenner (10) and Munroe (10).
Stover scored 24 points for Sterling, and Woods totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Tabor's record improved to 4-4 in the KCAC, while Sterling fell to 4-4. The teams are tied with McPherson and own the 4th-best record in the conference.
Friends-When the visiting Bluejays grabbed a 24-23 halftime lead on a pair of Tyler Weinbrenner free throws, the Falcons seemed rattled.
Tabor came out firing in the second half, assembling a 10-4 run after Mike Willis drained a 3-pointer at 19:10.
But a 34-27 lead was not enough of a cushion for the rash of fouls that followed.
The tipping point came at 14:56, when a call went against Tabor's Greg Munroe. Ryan Waterson made three straight free throws and Friends had a 5-0 run.
Tabor bounced the lead back to 39-32 in its favor with a Weinbrenner 3-pointer and a Mike Willis 2-point shot, but Munroe was whistled for his third foul and went to the bench.
Friends put together a pair of 3-pointers and a layup-all set up by passes from Falcons guard Justin Speer. The run mushroomed from 8-0 to 17-5, giving the home team a 52-44 lead with 5:48 to go.
Andy Brubacher drilled a 3-pointer-his only make from beyond the arc on the night-to make it a five-point game at 5:22.
But the Bluejays came no closer down the stretch.
Friends improved to 4-2 with the win.
The Bluejays are back in action next week with an 8 p.m. tipoff on Thursday at Bethany.