The Tabor basketball teams split two games on the road at Friends Wednesday. Despite a second-half rally, the Tabor women fell to the 21st-ranked Falcons, 61-54. The Tabor men, meanwhile, defeated the 21st-ranked Falcons, 78-74.
WOMEN?Once again, it took time for Tabor to find its rhythm as the Bluejays fell behind by as many as 15 points in the first half at Friends Wednesday. Despite a furious second-half comeback that saw the Bluejays lead by 4 with 5:03 left in the game, Tabor could not hold on down the stretch and fell, 61-54.
The teams traded baskets to start the game, and Mallory Zuercher tied it at 8 with a three-pointer at the 15:28 mark. But things went downhill from there as Tabor turnovers and missed shots contributed to a 15-0 Falcon surge for a 23-8 lead with 9:27 left before halftime. Tabor?s scoring drought lasted more than six minutes before Tonisha Dean scored at 9:10.
The Bluejays drew within 25-16 when Kayla Wilgers hit back-to-back threes, but Friends scored 10 seconds later to push the margin back to double figures. It remained that way until halftime, with the Falcons holding a 35-25 lead.
Slowly, the tide began to change, however, as the Bluejays stepped up their defensive intensity. Nikki Lewis and Kaleigh Troxell narrowed the Friends lead with back-to-back scores, and a Janelle Rust three-pointer brought Tabor within 44-38. The teams traded baskets until a Troxell three-pointer ignited a 12-0 Bluejay surge to take the lead, 52-48, when Dean made a second-chance basket with 5:03 left in the game.
But with Tabor managing only two points the duration of the game?two free throws by Hannah Paust with 31.6 seconds left?Friends was able to tie the score and reclaim the advantage to lead by seven when time expired.
Paust and Troxell led Tabor with eight points apiece.
MEN?After leading by 18 in the second half, the Tabor men weathered a Falcon rally and hung on for a four-point, 78-74, win on the road at Friends Wednesday.
The teams remained within four points of one another for more than eight minutes to start the game. With the teams locked at 14, Nick Sauer drained a three-pointer to ignite a 9-0 Bluejay surge.
The Falcons narrowed the gap to 26-22 at 6:25 before Jonathan Gibson made back-to-back baskets. After a D?Marco Smith free throw and a second-chance basket by Gibson, Tabor?s lead was back to double digits, 33-22, with 4:28 left in the half. The Bluejays enjoyed a 37-28 halftime lead.
Tabor built its lead to a game-high 58-40 when David Loewen made a basket with 12:35 to go. But the Falcons answered with a three-pointer and a dunk that turned into a three-point play when Tabor was called for a foul. Biggs made two free throws when Friends was charged with a technical foul, and Tabor?s lead was back to 16, 62-46, after a Lance Carter basket at 11:20. But Friends continued to chip away at the Bluejay lead, outscoring Tabor 14-4 over the next 3:23 to draw within 66-60.
Three consecutive Bluejay scores pushed Tabor?s lead to 71-60, but the Falcons would not roll over. Friends narrowed the gap to 75-70 with 2:30 to play. Each team managed one free throw in the next two minutes, then Carter and Robbie Samuel each cashed in a free-throw to increase Tabor?s lead to 78-71 with 13.7 seconds left. The Falcons made a three-pointer with 6.5 seconds left and grabbed the Tabor inbounds pass, but the Falcon three-point attempt missed its mark.
Thomas led Tabor with 21 points. Biggs added 14 and Samuel 13.
COMING?Tabor will travel to Kansas Wesleyan Saturday. The women will play at 5 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.