Bluejays sweep Bethany in double digit wins

Victory was sweet indeed for the Tabor men tonight, as they rode a strong second half to a 78-59 win over Bethany College, a team that soundly beat them on the road earlier in the season. The women picked up their second win over the Swedes by 25 points, 62-37. The wins gives the men a 12-13 overall record and 8-6 in conference play, putting them in the middle of the pack at fifth place in the KCAC standings. The women now stand at 4-20 overall and 2-12 in the conference.

MEN – The Jays started off hot from beyond the arc in the first 4:15 of play time, with Phillip Jimenez kicking off a strong performance with a three-pointer and Lawson Kingsley following it up with two baskets from three-point range to give Tabor a quick 11-8 lead at 15:43. 

But Bethany rallied to tie it up at 12 minutes and take the lead two minutes later. Ryan Chippeaux scored inside to tie it up again, 21-21, but the Swedes sank a three-pointer to take a lead they would not surrender the rest of the half.

Despite their positive start, the Jays faltered a bit the last part of the first half as Bethany’s size and strength at the post position took their toll inside and Tabor struggled to shoot at the perimeter. Though they shot just 3-14 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Bluejays trailed by onlysix points at halftime, 38-32, after the Swedes sank a last-second three-point shot.

If Tabor looked a little soft in the first half, there wasn’t a trace of it in the second. The Bluejays gave roaring back to out-score the Swedes, 46-21, in the second half and improve 30 percent from three-point range. Kyle Wallace gave Bethany a dramatic introduction to a completely different level of Bluejay basketball by sinking a three-pointer 20 seconds into the half, the first of five baskets he would drain from beyond the arc in the next 19:38 of play time. Gavin Serene put up two baskets before Chippeaux slammed home the dunk to give Tabor a 41-40 lead.

Bethany tied the game twice in the next minute of play, before Wallace hit two free throws to take the lead and Michael Janzen, Max Frise and Joe Penn each scored to complete an eight-point spurt that put Tabor on top, 51-44. The Swedes drew back within three points, but Wallace denied the comeback effort at 10:27 with another three-point shot. 

Wallace scored back-to-back baskets from beyond the arc to give Tabor a double digit lead, then put the nail in the proverbial coffin by draining a three-pointer with 13 seconds left for the Bluejays’ largest lead of the game at 21 points, and what turned out to be the margin of victory.

Wallace put up 22 points for the Jays, all in the second half, and led the team with 10 assists. Jimenez had 13 points, including six from beyond the arc, and Chippeaux registered a double-double for the third game in a row with 12 points and 10 rebounds. His efforts on the glass paid off, as Tabor had 12 second-chance points to Bethany’s five. 

WOMEN – The Bluejays overwhelmed Bethany from the start, out-scoring the Swedes by 20 points in the first half. Hannah Paust, My-Chal Duncan and Whitney Frise combined for an 11-1 scoring burst to kick off the action. Tabor pulled away as the clock ran down, helped along by a three-pointer from Katlyn Mary and two more from beyond the arc out of the hands of Frise and Tamara Lio. 

Tabor had a 34-14 advantage going into the break.

They rode their first-half momentum right into the second, resisting the trend shown in previous games to go cold in the last 20 minutes of the game. Tabor put up 28 points to Bethany’s 23 and never eased up their intensity as they continued to score inside, earning only six points from three-point range. The Bluejays also had a strong defensive effort, never allowing Bethany to score more than four points in a row. 

Paust closed out the game the way she began it as she put points on the board with .8 seconds on the clock to give Tabor their largest lead of the game and their 25-point margin of victory. 

Unsurprisingly, Mary led the Bluejays with 12 points, including three from beyond the arc. Frise chipped in nine points from three-point range, helping her to 11 points. Though she didn’t make double digits, Duncan had an improved performance tonight with eight points and a significant defensive effort, leading the team in rebounding as well. 

Tabor won on the boards, 33-27, and had significantly fewer turnovers, with 18 compared to Bethany’s 26 turnovers. They also had four more steals and beat the Swedes in assists, at the line and from three-point range. 

COMING UP – Tabor is scheduled to travel to Bethel College in Newton, Kan. Thursday before hitting the road to Friends University Saturday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men Thursday, and at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. See hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage. 

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