ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
KCAC play resumed in Hillsboro on Thursday night, and the home teams each picked up their first wins of the new year.
The men transformed a five-point halftime deficit into an 89-74 win and improved to 3-2 in conference play.
The game got off to a slow start–it was 0-0 for the first 2:06–but the pace of the action picked up after Greg Munroe posted his first 2-pointer of the night at 15:57.
Southwestern scored the next four points to open up a 6-2 lead over the home team; Tabor rallied for five unanswered points to take its first lead of the night, and the visitors connected for five straight of their own.
And so the frenzied scoring went on: off an assist from Tyler Weinbrenner, Andy Brubacher drained a 3-pointer that cut the Moundbuilder lead to 11-10 at 12:25; Weinbrenner drained one of his own that evened the game at 13-13 at 11:41.
Mike Willis got in on the scoring, making it 15-15 at 11:13, and Weinbrenner hit his second 3-pointer of the game to put Tabor up 18-15 at 10:47.
Time ticked away, but neither team was able to grab control of the game from the other until the Moundbuilders put together a 9-0 run for an eight point advantage with 0:36 left in the first half.
With two ticks left, Tyler Weinbrenner found Eric Weinbrenner open for another 3-pointer, and he cut the Southwestern lead to 36-31 before the break.
Mike Stoecker scored the first points of the second half, and Munroe turned a steal into a fast-break dunk that made it 36-35.
Southwestern pushed the lead back to seven, but Brubacher caught fire at 14:40. His third 3-pointer of the contest sparked a 20-7 outburst during the next 3:39, and the senior guard scored 14 points in that span.
Brubacher stayed hot down the stretch and the Tabor lead mushroomed to 70-59 when he torched the bottom of the net from beyond the arc for eighth time at 5:10.
Brubacher finished with 32 points to lead all scorers, followed by three Bluejays in double-digits: Munroe (16), Tyler Weinbrenner (15) and Stoecker (13).
After a 12-of-34 showing from the field in the first half, Tabor shot 20-for-30 and put up 58 points in the second–the team’s most dominant performance in any half this season.
The Tabor men are now 5-10 in the overall standings.
In the earlier game, the Tabor women jumped out to a 38-30 halftime lead and cruised to a 75-67 victory.
Tabor got 10 first-half points from Emily Vogts–Vogts finished with a team-high 23 for the game–and the Bluejays built an eight point lead during the first 10:36.
Andrea Robinson gave the team its biggest lead of the night when she finished an end-to-end rush by slashing to the basket and scoring a layup softly off the glass.
From there, Southwestern put together an 11-4 run that culminated in a pair of 3-pointers that cut the Bluejays’ lead to one.
Tabor bounced back with an 11-3 run to push the lead back to eight with 3:17 to go; then Southwestern guard Kara Beal scored seven points as her team put together a 7-4 run that trimmed the lead back to three.
But Donya Anderson hit a jumper, Kirsten Watson set up another Robinson layup and Erin Runge drew two fouls in the final minutes of the half.
Runge drained three free throws in the final 0:37 to put the finishing touches on Tabor’s third eight point lead of the night.
Beal and the Moundbuilders came out firing from long range in the second half and outscored the Bluejays 17-6 in the first 4:50.
Tabor forward Nicole Ellis gave the home team the lead they would not relinquish with a layup off of a nice feed from Runge with 8:53 to go.
Southwestern kept firing and made it a 1-point game four times, but the Moundbuilders had no answer for Vogts down the stretch, except to foul.
After Beal hit her fifth 3-pointer of the half, Vogts scored seven free throws over the last 4:47, and Tabor as a team shot 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final minute.
Stacie Herman sank two free throws with 0:09 to go, and that pair gave the Bluejays their fourth eight-point lead of the game.
The women improved to 5-0 in conference play and ran their streak of consecutive wins to 13.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON