ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AO
The Bluejay basketball teams both turned in strong performances on the road Thursday night at Sterling.
Led by Stacie Herman and Emily Vogts, who each scored seven points in the first half-Vogts finished with a game-high 16-the Bluejays flew out to a 38-25 first half advantage and finished with a 62-54 win.
In the first half, Tabor stymied prolific scorer K.C. Bassett and limited the Warriors to six-of-30 shooting (20 percent). Herman set the tone in the early going when she stole the ball from Bassett and located Kirsten Watson for an open look from 3-point range.
Watson did not miss on her first attempt of the night, and she drained another 3-pointer 0:53 later. The assist on that bucket went to Nicole Ellis, and Tabor led 12-3.
The hot start mushroomed despite some early foul trouble for the Bluejays. Vogts went to the bench with her second personal at 11:56.
Erin Runge came in for Vogts; 0:15 later, scored a 2-pointer that gave Tabor its first double digit lead, 19-9.
Jenny Gaskell made it 21-11 with 10:20 to go. Gaskell posted 2-pointers twice more in the period.
With 1:04 left, she finished off an offensive rebound for an 11 point lead.
Stephanie Silvas got an assist with a pass to Gaskell, who was alone in the paint with 0:07 to go; she made the halftime differential 38-25.
But Sterling, having shot 12 for 19 from the free throw line, clung to hope. The sense hanging in the halftime air was that Sterling would rally in front of their home crowd, and the Warriors indeed put together a late run.
Trailing by 16 points after Herman drained a 2-point shot with 7:05 to go, Sterling cut the lead to 58-50 when Alicia Collett hit the first of two foul shots. She also hit the second, and the lead was down to seven.
Herman and Vogts blocked back-to-back shots on Sterling’s next possession, but the Warriors collected three offensive rebounds before scoring the 3-pointer that made it a four point game, 58-54.
Tabor’s next possession consumed an entire shot clock but seemed certain to end with no additional points when Herman’s baseline floater fell off the front of the rim.
But Vogts was there for the putback that turned into a traditional 3-point play when she drew a foul in the process.
After Vogts buried the free throw, making it 61-54, Donya Anderson swatted away a 2-point shot attempt. Herman tracked it into the corner, but was whistled for a traveling after she collected the loose ball.
A lesser player and a lesser team may have been rattled by the misstep, but Herman and the Bluejays tenaciously forced two awkward shots in the final 0:32. Runge, who rebounded the penultimate miss and was fouled for a final free throw with 0:23 to go, scored Tabor’s final point.
Anderson and Runge led a dominant effort on the boards with 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively.
Vogts was the only Bluejay with a double-digit point total and finished with 16. Six players finished with five or more points in the balanced effort: Anderson (9), Herman (9), Watson (6), Gaskell (6), Eillis (5) and Silvas (5).
In the late game, the men took a 43-37 halftime lead and won 83-78. Warriors giant Jonathan Woods tied the game with 2:46 to go.
But Sterling’s rally sputtered. Mike Stoecker scored a 2-pointer with 2:29 to go, and the Bluejays never took their foot off the accelerator, outpacing their opponents 11-6 down the stretch.
Andy Brubacher drilled a 3-pointer with 1:00 left in the game and a pair of free throws with 0:38 to go.
Mike Willis rejected any further thought of a comeback, blocking a 3-point attempt and grabbing the ball with 0:03 to preserve the lead.
Brubacher scored 20 points, followed by Greg Munroe (17), Willis (15) and Stoecker (13).
The final games of the regular season will be played in Hillsboro on Saturday against Bethany. The women tip-off at 5 p.m. and the men’s game is slated for 7 p.m.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AO