Tabor escapes with heart-stopping wins

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Coming off a loss to McPherson last weekend, the Tabor College men responded with a pair of heart-stopping wins last week.



The Bluejays dodged a bullet Saturday against the Bethany College Swedes, the second-best team in the KCAC, escaping with a 74-72 win.



The Bluejays and Swedes traded baskets in the first half with the Swedes finishing on top, 29-28, at intermission.



But the real action was just beginning. In the second half, the Jays jumped into the lead and pushed the margin to as much as 10 when Lance Redetzke rattled home two free throws and a jumper to put Tabor up 41-31.



But the Swedes came storming back, tying the game up 46-46.



Tabor’s Kyle Kopper went coast-to-coast for a layup to break the tie with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.



The Bluejays and Swedes exchanged the lead again until Tabor’s Tyler Brown hit a huge 3-pointer to put the Jays on top, 54-51.



Tabor would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game, but nearly gave it away late.



The Bluejays had a two-point lead and the ball underneath the Bethany basket when Tyson Ratzlaff overthrew the ball down past a streaking Jimmy Janzen down court.



The turnover gave the ball to the Swedes underneath their own bucket with an opportunity to tie or win the game with under 10 seconds left.



The Bluejays fouled Bethany’s Charlie Mercado with no time left on the clock, putting the Swede on the line with a chance to tie the game.



Fortunately for Tabor, Mercado missed the first free throw, preserving the Tabor win.



“We had two timeouts left, and obviously, the better choice would have been to call the timeout and set up something new,” coach Don Brubacher said. “It seems like we continue to make a mistake or groups of mistakes that hurt us quite a lot every game.



“But I think we are playing with more confidence and it is growing positively for us.”



Tabor held Bethany’s Dustin Hilderbrand, the KCAC’s second-leading scorer, to just seven points.



“He hurt us with one big 3-point shot at a really critical part of the game,” Brubacher said. “We’re making a great effort on defense.”



Tyson Ratzlaff paced the Bluejays with a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down 10 boards.



Friends-Jimmy Janzen came up big down the stretch for the Bluejays as Tabor escaped with a 58-55 win over Friends at Wichita on Thursday night.



Janzen made all four of his 3-point shots and finished with a team-high 17 points. Tyson Ratzlaff added 11.



Coming-With the win, Tabor moves to 5-6 for the season and 3-1 in KCAC play.



The Bluejays travel to Fresno, California Dec. 18 and 19 to play Calif., Christian and Fresno Pacific University.



Tabor will take a two-week hiatus over the Christmas holiday and return to competition at home Jan. 4 and 5 at the Tabor College Classic.



The Jays will face Texas Wesleyan University Jan. 4 and Langston University Jan. 5.

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