Having each already won regular-season titles, the Tabor College basketball teams both won the KCAC tournament Monday at Hartman Arena.
WOMEN?The top-seeded Tabor women won the KCAC tournament championship by defeating No. 6 Ottawa, 59-53, Monday.
Tabor struggled to find a rhythm early, shooting around 35 percent from the field in the first half (9-26). The game remained close, with Tabor leading only by three, 14-11, at the end of the first quarter.
The Bluejays gained a bit of distance in the second quarter, building a 22-16 advantage when Taylor Deniston followed a Tena Loewen two-pointer with a trey at the 4:05 mark. However, Tabor did not score again until Kaleigh Troxell made a trey with 28 seconds left in the half, giving the Bluejays a slight edge, 25-22, at halftime.
The teams traded scores after intermission. Amber Bonham drained a trey to give Tabor a 34-28 cushion, but Ottawa scored eight unanswered points to take the lead, 36-34. Tabor trailed at the final break, 40-38.
The Bluejays found their stride in the fourth quarter. Fueled by a stifling defense, Tabor outscored Ottawa 14-2 to build a double-digit lead, 52-42. Ottawa scored its first field goal of the period with 1:42 left in the game. By that time, Tabor was firmly in control and went on to win by six.
Loewen led the Bluejays with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Reid had 10 rebounds to add to her nine points.
MEN?The Tabor College men’s basketball team capped a perfect regular conference season by winning the KCAC tournament Monday, defeating No. 2 Southwestern, 75-68.
Tabor trailed the duration of the first half before evening the count with a D?Marco Smith basket with 20 seconds left in the half.
Southwestern built a 10-3 lead in the first four minutes. Lance Carter contributed five points to an 8-2 Bluejay run after that to bring Tabor within 12-11. Southwestern maintained the lead, stretching it to 27-18 with a 7-0 run. Again, Tabor trimmed the lead to one, 30-29, after Carter scored at the 3:38 mark. Carter scored six points in a 1:32 stretch, and the teams traded baskets until Davaghndre Jones and D?Marco Smith scored in succession to close the half, tying the game at 39.
The Bluejays gained momentum after halftime. Southwestern scored the half?s first two baskets, but after that, Tabor enjoyed a 16-1 run. Alan Urrutia capped it with a trey. John Jedneak scored eight points in a 2:21 stretch, including a basket that put Tabor in front, 61-48.
Southwestern trimmed the lead to seven a few times, and even to five with 35 seconds left, 71-66, but Tabor remained in control and won by seven in the end.
Carter led all scorers with 20 points. He had 12 rebounds. Smith added 14 points, Gibson 10 and Jedneak 10.
Coming?The Bluejays will compete in their respective national tournaments next week. Brackets will be released March 2.