WEB FLASH: Tabor earns trip to nationals! (Feb. 24)

Eric Driggers scored all 16 of his points in the second half to lift Tabor to a hard-fought 83-76 win over Bethany Saturday afternoon in Hillsboro.

With the win, Tabor (21-9) earns a KCAC tournament title rematch against Saint Mary, which beat Ottawa in the other semifinal game. More important, the Jays have earned a berth in the NAIA Div. II national tournament that begins March 7 in Point Lookout, Mo. (near Branson).

The game against Bethany was marked by drastic changes in momentum and the lead. Bethany scored the first four points, but Tabor, behind the scoring of Micah Ratzlaff, built a 23-10 lead with 11:34 left in the first half. Ratzlaff scored 15 of his game-high 22 points during that stretch.

But Bethany would not cave in. They hit five 3-pointers over the next four and a half minutes to take a 29-28 lead. Tabor came back with a 9-2 in the last two and a half minutes to claim a 45-41 advantage at intermission.

In the second half, Tabor again built a substantive lead that peaked at 15 points, 60-45, on a Ratzlaff field goal with 14:55 to play. But again, Bethany made a run at the Bluejays, pulling to within three points several times in the last two minutes, the last time with 12 seconds left.

But the Bluejays, who had struggled at the free throw line most of the second half, nailed 10 of 12 in the last minute to preserve the win. Scott Brubacher was 5-of-6 over that stretch and finished with 12 points coming off the bench.

It was fitting that Driggers, the senior from Hillsboro, made the final two free throws of the game with 4.7 seconds left. His four 3-pointers in the second half were huge for Tabor and enabled them to battle Bethany when Ratzlaff got into foul trouble and eventually fouled out with 8:19 to play.

As a team, Tabor shot 54.3 percent from the field and nearly 65 percent (11-17) from behind the arc. Bethany shot 43.1 percent overall and almost 41 percent (11-27) from behind the arc.

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