Tabor, Kansas Wesleyan win one, lose one on Wednesday

The Tabor College basketball teams were reminded how important a good start can determine the outcome at the end of the game. In their game versus Kansas Wesleyan on Wed­nes­day night, the Bluejay women, who came in tied for first place, fell behind quickly and could never dig themselves out of hole on the way to 65-55 loss against the sixth-place Coyotes. The Tabor men, meanwhile, were tied with Kansas Wesleyan for second place in the KCAC, but built a 20-8 lead in the first eight minutes of the game and went on to claim 62-46 victory.

WOMEN—The Tabor women missed their first 10 shots of the game and committed seven turnovers before Sammy Jo Peterson finally broke through with Tabor’s first field goal at the 1:12 mark of the first quarter. By then the visiting Coyotes had dug the Bluejays a 22-0 hole.

When the first quarter ended, Tabor trailed 26-4 after making only two of 14 shots in the opening period. Meanwhile, KWU hit 10 of 15 shots. By halftime, the deficit was down slightly to 16 points at 38-22.

The Bluejays opened the third quarter with another drought, managing only two points through the first 4:55. KWU wasn’t shooting much better, but led 42-24 at the 6:05 mark and 52-33 as the quarter ended.

Fueled by 11 points from freshman Sammy Jo Peter­son, Tabor whittled the Coyotes’ lead down to 10 points by the end of the game.

Peterson led Tabor’s attack with a season-high 19 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Tristen Leiszler added 11 points. As a team, the Bluejays shot 19-53 from the floor (35.8 percent) while KWU shot 48 percent (26-54). Courtney Heinen led the Coyotes with 14 points, Virja Lewis added 12 and Taryn Frazier 11.

With the loss, Tabor’s record slips to 8-3 in the KCAC and 11-6 for the season. Kansas Wesleyan improved to 7-4 and 10-9.

MEN—Tabor raced to a 20-8 lead with five players contributing on the offensive end. Gaven Schuman chip­ped in four points, DeShun Patterson five, Diontre Cutliff four, Julian Winton five and Jon Beristain two. The two teams mostly traded baskets the rest of the way to a 35-24 margin at halftime. Tabor shot 51.6 percent (16-31) in the first half compared to Kansas Wesleyan’s 41.7 percent (10-24).

Tabor started the second half with a 6-0 burst for a 41-24 lead at the 18-minute mark, but Kansas Wesleyan responded with a 12-2 run with Ernest Carter scoring six points for a 43-26 score.

Beristain provided Tabor with an offensive burst midway through the half by scoring three baskets on a couple of shifty moves in the paint. Julian Winton added a pair of free throws to put Tabor on top again by 14 points, 51-37, with 9:24 to play.

The Coyotes rallied to within nine points when Carter hit a 3-point basket with 3:52 to play. But Winton nailed a pair of free throws and Alan Urrutia hit a big 3-point shot at the 2:25 mark. KWU then missed the last 10 shots as the Bluejays nailed down the 62-46 win.

Winton led Tabor with 21 points and was acknowledged after the game for reaching the Bluejay 1,000-point club in only a season and a half. Also scoring double-digits for Tabor were Schuman with 12 and Cutliff with 10 points. As a team, Tabor shot 51 percent (25-49) from the field while Kansas Wesleyan struggled at 31.6 percent (18-57).

The win boosts Tabor’s record in the KCAC to 8-3 and 9-8 overall. The Coyotes slipped to 7-4 in the conference and 9-8 for the year.

COMING—Tabor will be hosting Southwestern College on Saturday. The women’s team will bring a 3-8 record in the KCAC and a 4-15 mark overall. The South­­western men are ranked sixth in the NAIA Div. II with a 17-2 record for the season and are leading the KCAC with a 10-1 mark. The women will play at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.