ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Tabor Classic was anything but classic for the Tabor women this weekend. The Bluejays dropped both of their games.
Tabor fell to St. Mary of Omaha 61-55 on Friday. The next night, the Jays got down early and battled back into striking distance before losing to Peru State 56-44.
Despite losing the ball game, coach Rusty Allen was extremely pleased with his team’s play against Peru State.
“Our performance was absolutely outstanding, probably one of the best efforts I’ve ever had out of a team before,” Allen said. “It’s one of those games where you ask how you can give that kind of performance and lose-it doesn’t make any sense.
“It’s one of those games where you can say to your players you ought to truly feel good about the way you played. I told them I don’t want you to let anybody else tell you differently.”
The Bluejays dug a hole for themselves in the first half against Peru State, at one point going scoreless for almost five minutes.
Almost every advance the Jays made in the first half was answered by the Bobcats on the other end of the court. Despite shooting just 21.4 percent from the field after a half of play, Tabor trailed by just 10 points.
After the intermission, the Bluejays began pecking away at the Bobcat lead. Tabor’s full-court pressure forced several turnovers, but the Jays were unable to capitalize on the opportunities.
Indicative of the night, Tabor’s Rachelle Speers failed to cash in three layups in the last minutes of the game after the defense had forced turnovers.
“There was some real temptation to be frustrated from the sideline,” Allen said about missed opportunities during the game.
“But at least it wasn’t with effort, it wasn’t with concentration, it
wasn’t with execution. It was with something that is such a psychological thing you really don’t want to mess with that.”
Although the Bluejays surrendered 56 points and 20 turnovers, they also forced 21 turnovers and out-rebounded Peru State 38-28.
“We beat them on the boards, and that’s been our achilles heal all year,” Allen said.
Speers was 6-for-18 from the field and 2-for-8 from behind the arc for a team-leading 15 points. She also pulled down six rebounds, four steals and dished out an assist.
Tabor’s Becky Jons was 3-for-6 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line for 11 points. Jons also had eight boards, an assist and a steal.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how we approached the game,” Allen said.
St. Mary of Omaha-Tabor turned the ball over 23 times in a losing cause to the St. Mary Flames, 61-55, Friday night.
Despite out-rebounding the visitors by more than a dozen, the Bluejays were unable to contain St. Mary’s Erin Corrigan, who ignited the Flames with 25 points and seven rebounds.
In the first half, the two teams traded baskets until Tabor grabbed a 25-23 lead before heading into the locker room for intermission.
But in the second half, St. Mary took control of the game, hitting 51.9 percent from the field, 50 percent of their 3-point shots and 80 percent of their free throws.
Rachelle Speers lead the Tabor attack with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Angela Kroeker added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bluejays.
Coming-The Bluejays will host Sterling College Thursday night at 6 p.m. and Ottawa University Saturday night at 5 p.m.