Down by three with four seconds left in regulation, Tabor inbounded the ball 94-feet from its basket needing a miracle to send Thursday night’s game at Southwestern into overtime. That miracle came in the form of sophomore guard Cody Arnold.
Facing full court pressure, the Bluejays got the ball to Arnold short of half court. Arnold dribbled six times, splitting two Moundbuilder defenders, and heaved a shot from 25 feet?SWISH!
The high arching shot fell through the net as Bluejay fans erupted and Moundbuilder fans silenced, realizing the hard fought contest would last another five minutes.
?It was a big shot, a big shot for him. He really hadn?t hit a whole lot during the game.? said Tabor coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?It was a really good look. I can?t believe they just let him dribble up.?
The buzzer beater didn?t create any momentum for the Blue jays though. Southwestern outscored Tabor in the overtime 9-4 to win 76-71. All of the Moundbuilders? overtime points came from the foul line.
?I tried to go zone because we couldn?t guard them off the dribble,? said Ratzlaff. ?Our guys got lazy in the zone and they just penetrated right through it and got to the free throw line.?
With 10 minutes left in regulation, Tabor was up 52-44, thanks in part to a hot shooting performance by Hillsboro freshman Clay Shewey. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from three point range. Three of his threes came in the first ten minutes of the second half.
?He got some really good looks, over and over and over. I can?t believe he kept getting open like that,? said Ratzlaff. ?He kept us in the game and we needed somebody to step up like that.?
Shewey had problems getting open late in regulation due to increased attention from Southwestern?s defense. Without Shewey’s shooting, Tabor?s lead slipped away. The Moundbuilders narrowed the Tabor lead to 54-53 when senior guard Justin Diggles stole the ball for a lay up and a foul.
The rest of the game was back and forth as neither team could open up a sizeable margin. Damon Dechant kept the Bluejays in the game?down the stretch with solid play at both ends of the floor.
Dechant scored four of the Bluejays last eight points in regulation and prevented a Southwestern breakaway basket with a come-from-behind blocked shot.
After a steal and lay up by Diggles to put the Moundbuilders up 65-62 with 16.8 seconds to play in regulation. Tabor?s Lawson Kingsley committed a turnover, Soutwestern hit 2-of-4 free throws and Tabor scored another basket to set up the scenario for the last second shot by Arnold.
Southwestern?s Justin Diggles led all scorers with 22 points.
Dechant paced Tabor with 17 points and nine rebounds. Ryan Chippeauz had six points and seven rebounds. Other scorers for Tabor were Lawson Kingsley (9), Dan Hann (8), Jason Hett (6), Arnold and Rob Moore (3).
Southwestern improves to 4-3 in KCAC play, good enough for third place in conference standings. They are 8-9 overall.
Tabor falls to 6-10 overall and?are?in a tie for fourth place in the KCAC standings with St. Mary, Bethany and Bethel. Tabor will play its second consecutive road game Saturday at St. Marys in Leavenworth.
The Tabor women lost to Southwestern by a score of 62-54. The Bluejays squandered a six-point second half lead and trailed by as much as 12 with five minutes left to play.
Tabor rallied from an early five-point deficit to go into half time ahead 26-24. The lead came on a fastbreak lay up and three-point play converting foul shot by Tynan Honn with 1:43 left to play in the first stanza.
Honn finished with 17 points, eight rebounds. Gina Hullett had 10 points and five rebounds. Stephanie Silvas came out of her shooting slump finishing with 10 points, shooting?5-for-6 from the field. Other scorers were Vivian Olvera (7), Andrea Robinson (4) and?Tiffany Bulk, Sarah Wyckoff, Mallory Flaming (2).
Southwestern?s Jasmine Manuel had a game high 26 points.
Tabor coach Shawn Winter was whistled for a technical foul in the second half.
Southwestern continues its winning streak to four games and is tied with Kansas Wesleyan for second in KCAC standing at 6-1, 13-4 overall.
Tabor falls to 2-5 in the KCAC and 3-14 overall. Tabor will play its second consecutive road game Saturday at St. Marys in Leavenworth.