Tabor sweeps Bethel


English contains thousands of different ways to describe and allows perhaps a million degrees of subtlety on the subject
of complete and total victory by one team over another. It permits one
frustration to grow into a forest of bafflements, discouragments and
thwartings; one clobbering might nullify another, or annihilate, or
frustrate. Our language does not know limits to the idea of winning:
one might conquer, vanquish, subdue, subjugate, overcome, rout,
surmount, whip, trim, triumph, win, ace, lick, check, foil, stymie and
stump the opponent. While all of these notions are
bent out of all proportion when applied to sports, this language is used in
an even more extravagantly lopsided fashion in the description of heated (and dormant) rivalries. So it would be absurd to say that the Tabor College
basketball teams beat down their Bethel counterparts Thursday night in Hillsboro, when in fact the scoreboard merely stated in ephemeral
light that the Bluejays won the men's game 48-27 and the women's game
71-57.

Despite achieving a wide margin of victory, the Tabor
women's team needed every last one of Kirsten Watson's 30 points to
count—and no basket proved more important than the 3-pointer Watson
drained to quash Bethel's first and only lead of the second half. The
Threshers rallied from a 32-20 halftime deficit as Tabor shot 9-for-25
after the break while Bethel more than doubled its first half
efficiency by making 10 of 19 field goals—five of eight from 3-point
range. The Threshers threw everything short of a kitchen sink at Tabor,
playing their press tightly and to near perfection for 10 minutes. But
the Threshers could not sustain their intensity without Hannah Blackburn and Kelsie
Wilson, who both fouled out during the run.

To be fair, Tabor lost Gina Hullet and Jordan
Crosson to fouls during the same stretch, but after Watson's decisive basket—which ended a six-minute
scoring drought—the Bluejays rained in 13 free throws while limiting
Bethel's scoring to one solitary foul shot.

Tabor mustered 13 points from Chelsea Malone and 10
from Stephanie Silvas in support of Watson's career night.

In the men's game,
Tabor opted to play a tight zone against Bethel's dribble-drive
offense, and the Threshers found no answers from their perimeter shooters. Tabor broke out to a 10-0
lead as Kyle Kroeker and Orson Thomas generated open shots for each
other within the framework of Tabor's inside-outside passing game.

But Bethel was troubled less by Tabor's offense (which shot an anemic 24 percent in the first half) than by its
own lack of offense. Bethel shot 3-for-18 from the field and sputtered
into the intermission having scored just eight points in the first 20
minutes. The Threshers outscored Tabor 5-4 during their best stretch—but the gain was slight, as the run consumed the final 10:31 of
the first half. Tabor led 20-8 at the break.

Bethel made good on the threat to close the gap during the first 10
minutes of the second half, closing within 30-21 on a 2-pointer by
Jordon Regehr—but Tabor called on Kroeker, Zack Vanselow and Kyle de
Blonk to put out the blaze. Kroeker's three with 9:29 left—19 seconds
after Regehr's 2-pointer—made Tabor's lead double-digits again.
Vanselow stamped it with an offensive rebound and putback—his only
basket of the night—and de Blonk al but ended the game with a 3-pointer
at 6:35. De Blonk scored the next basket either team made—a triple that
upped the Tabor lead to 41-21 with 3:59 to go—and, apart from a
layup-and-1 by John Watson, Bethel made little of the final minutes.

Kroeker scored 10 points and de Blonk had the game high with 13. Regehr scored 11 for the Threshers, who committed 18 turnovers while recording only three assists.

Coming—Tabor hosts conference-leading Sterling Saturday. The Bluejays have asked those
who will attended to wear pink in support of Cancer Awareness Night.


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