ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Tabor women’s basketball team split two games at the Sterling College Warrior Pizza Hut Classic in Sterling this weekend.
On Friday afternoon the Bluejays battled York College, but came up short in a 75-63 loss.
“We played really hard,” coach Rusty Allen said. “We beat them in every area of the game, and I couldn’t be more proud. We just couldn’t shoot the ball very well.”
At the end of the first half, Tabor trailed York 36-25. The Bluejays shot 28.1 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from beyond the arch.
“We got really good looks at the basket,” Allen said. “We just struggled shooting the ball.”
Tabor’s offensive woes continued into the second half. Despite forcing York into 28 turnovers, the Jays still came up short at the final buzzer.
Rachelle Speers led Tabor with 17 points and five rebounds.
“We got a big game out of Rachelle,” Allen said.
Tabor was 18 of 66 from the field and 3 of 16 from the 3-point line.
“Basketball is such a game of momentum and confidence,” Allen said. “We just have to get our players to free themselves up mentally and shoot the ball in the basket.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Bluejays improved dramatically, claiming a 72-70 win over Mid-America Bible Evangel College.
“We had 26 turnovers, which is way too many, but at the same time we played with confidence,” Allen said. “We have kids who are listening and are wanting to learn.”
The Jays shot 45.2 percent from the field and 45.5 from the 3-point line.
Angela Kroeker and Rachelle Speers combined for 47 of Tabor’s 72 points.
Kroeker had 25 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Speers had 22 points, two rebounds and four assists.
The tandems’ offensive output was was an obvious factor in the game, Allen said.
“They both had super games,” Allen said. “Rachelle has just worked her tail off in every phase of the game, trying to get herself ready for this season. She made several key plays defensively. She literally shut her man out.
“Angela played everything from point guard to center and that just shows you how versatile she is.”
Tabor jumped to a lead in the first half and took a nine-point lead into the locker room, 34-25.
In the second half, Mid-America stormed back, nearly doubling their first-half point total.
Mid-America threatened late, going up by one with just under 20 seconds left in the game.
But on Tabor’s next possession, Kroeker took the inbounds pass down the court, eluding Mid-America defenders along the way and nailed a jumper off the glass while getting fouled.
After sinking the foul shot, the Bluejays survived a desperation heave by Mid-America to claim their second win of the year.
“They slowly eroded our lead by pressing,” Allen said. “They created enough turnovers that they were able to get back in the game.”
Down the stretch, Allen felt his team really stepped up their offensive play.
“We showed more confidence and more patience on the offensive end in this game,” he said.
With the win, Tabor is 2-2 for the year. Allen said his team is improving. “We’re getting a lot better, and we’re going to be a way better team by mid-January than we are now,” he said.
Tabor hosted Newman University Tuesday at Hillsboro High School due to scheduling problems at Tabor and will travel to Bartlesville, Okla., to face Oklahoma Wesleyan University for the second time this season.