Late swoon costs Tabor men the KCAC title

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
“We’re back to square one-we’re back to where we were playing at the start of the year,” Tabor coach Don Brubacher said after his team in Hillsboro lost to Saint Mary, 83-68, Saturday night.

“For some reason, what we’ve worked on throughout the season has pretty much just gotten away from us,” he said. “We’re just not getting it done. We have someone making a huge defensive mistake every possession.”

Having lost to Bethel earlier in the week, the Bluejays limped to the end of the regular season with four losses in five games-and went from being two games ahead in the loss column over Ottawa for the KCAC title to finishing two games behind in second place.

It didn’t help that Saint Mary shot a scorching 60.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.

Brubacher said his team’s defense contributed to the Spires’ performance.

“Somebody made a huge mistake or somebody broke down (defensively),” he said. “You have to get up and guard them and frustrate them. We did that at their place and they lost determination.

“Here, we let them have their way the whole game. If they wanted to shoot a 3, they’d just step a guy off a pick, and they would shoot a 3. We couldn’t guard anybody.”

The Spires hit three consecutive 3-pointers early in the game to take a 9-0 advantage. Tabor finally scored when Scott Brubacher found Ernest Nortey under the basket.

Scott Brubacher kept the Jays in the game for the first five minutes, scoring five of his 10 points for the night.

Tabor got within three points before the Spires went on an another rampage. Thanks to a 13-point run, Saint Mary built an 18-point lead with just under eight minutes left in the first half. The Bluejays trailed at halftime, 42-26.

Saint Mary started the second half where they left off, rattling home three unanswered field goals. Tabor made sporadic advances, but couldn’t pull themselves into contention.

With less than 15 minutes left in the game, Saint Mary posted an 11-point run that carried them to their largest lead of the night-28 points.

In the last three minutes, the Bluejays made one last comeback attempt, but could get no closer than 15 points.

The Jays shot 41.7 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from the 3-point line.

Nortey was 7-for-8 from the field and 0-for-2 from the charity stripe for 14 points to lead the Bluejays.

Tyson Ratzlaff added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Scott Brubacher finished with 10 points, four boards, one assist and one steal.

Bethel-Tabor dropped out of first place in the KCAC after losing to Bethel College, 71-64, Thursday night in North Newton.

The Bluejays went to the locker room at halftime with a three-point lead but were outscored by 10 in the final half.

Tabor’s Ernest Nortey scored 19 points to lead Tabor. Jimmy Janzen and Grant Brubacher added 15 and 10, respectively.

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