Tabor splits games with Valley City State

The Tabor College basketball teams split their first Holiday Classic games with Valley City State Friday. The Bluejay women earned a 74-70 overtime victory, while the men suffered a 71-66 defeat.

Taylor DenistonWomen—In a matchup of nationally-ranked teams that seemed fit for the NAIA’s biggest stage, the 17th-ranked Bluejays earned a 74-70 overtime win over 19th-ranked Valley City State Friday.

The teams battled to a 58-58 deadlock by the end of regulation, with Tabor’s defense limiting a Viking offense averaging more than 77 points per game.

After neither team scored for more than three minutes of play, Tabor built a 13-7 lead after one quarter, boosted by five points from Amber Bonham, including a basket off a steal that gave Tabor its six-point margin at the first break.

An 11-5 Viking rally tied the game at 18, then Kelsey Unruh and Tristen Leiszler contributed to a 6-0 Bluejay run. Tabor led, 27-23, at halftime.

When Tabor scored just two points in the first seven minutes of the third period, the Vikings burst to a 31-29 lead, forcing coach Shawn Reed to call timeout. Tabor scored eight points in the final three minutes to regain the lead as the quarter ended, 37-35.

Scoring increased in the fourth quarter, and the Bluejays led by as many as seven, 49-42, with 4:34 left in regulation. But a 16-9 Viking rally tied the game and sent it to overtime.

The Bluejays trailed by three, 62-59, with 4:10 remaining, then enjoyed a 9-0 run aided by three-pointers from Taylor Deniston and Olivia Brubacher. The closest the Vikings got after that was within three, and Tabor led by as many as 74-67 before the Vikings drained a three-pointer with just seconds left on the clock.

Deniston led all scorers with 19 points. Kristyn Wedel scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Leiszler scored 11 points.

Alan UrrutiaMen—An abysmal second-half scoring drought thwarted a Bluejay victory as Tabor suffered a 71-66 defeat to Valley City State Friday.

The Bluejays trailed only by two at halftime, 38-36, recovering from what had been a 31-20 deficit at the 7:02 mark. A 16-7 effort in the final seven minutes, led by Julian Winton with seven points, helped right the ship.

After halftime, the Bluejays took the lead, then went ice cold. Tabor made its last field goal—a three-pointer by Alex Arnold—with 12:03 to play. At that point, the Bluejays led, 58-52. But the Bluejays managed just eight free-throws after that. The Vikings, meanwhile, scored 19 points to claim the five-point win.

Winton and Alan Urrutia carried the team. Winton scored 21 points; Urrutia scored 18.

Coming—Tabor will return to action Saturday. The women will play Baker at 5 p.m. The men will play Hastings at 7 p.m.

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