Tabor sweeps Hastings to conclude holiday classic

The Tabor College basketball teams ended 2016 with a sweep of Hastings Saturday to conclude play in the holiday classic.

Morgan Ediger
Morgan Ediger
Women—Pitted against the sixth-ranked team in the nation, the 20th-ranked Bluejays used a furious fourth-quarter rally to secure a 66-65 victory.

Hastings came into the game ranked eighth in scoring defense per game, giving up an average of 57 points per game. The Broncos’ average of 12.2 steals per game ranks 15th in NAIA Division II.

Struggling to find a rhythm against the Bronco press, Tabor turned the ball over four times in the first 3:23, and did not score until Tristen Leiszler drained a three-pointer at the 6:03 mark. Tabor built an 8-6 lead after that, but lost it with a 7-0 Bronco run. By the end of the first quarter, Hastings held a 19-12 advantage.

Tabor closed the gap to 21-19 after Morgan Ediger drained a three-pointer and Tena Loewen scored twice, but a 10-2 Bronco run extended their margin to double digits, 31-21. Kaleigh Troxell drained a three-pointer with 1:07 left in the half, bringing the Bluejays within 39-32 at intermission.

Hastings extended its lead by outscoring Tabor, 18-14, in the third quarter to take a 57-46 margin into the final break.

Jurnee Reid
Jurnee Reid
The Bluejays picked up the intensity in the fourth quarter. Jurnee Reid lit the fire with a two-pointer that ignited a furious 14-2 rally that gave Tabor the lead, 60-59, with 1:43 left in the game. To end the run, Reid grabbed her own rebound and scored, then Loewen made a two-pointer in the paint following a Bronco miss. Hastings’ scoring drought lasted 6:32.

Taylor Deniston drained a three-pointer with 58 seconds left to put Tabor in front, 63-61, but Hastings took advantage of a Bluejay turnover and scored to jump back in front, 64-63, with 25 seconds to play. Deniston scored with 18 seconds to go to give Tabor the lead, 65-64, then Reid blocked Hastings’ next attempt and Loewen grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made the second of two free-throws to put Tabor in front, 66-64, but a Bluejay foul sent the Broncos to the charity stripe with less than 1 second to go. Hastings made one of two free-throws, and Tabor held on to win.

Loewen led the Bluejays with 15 points. Ediger scored 14, and Deniston 10.

The Bluejays made 46 percent of their attempts from the field (25-for-54).

Jonathan Gibson
Jonathan Gibson
Men—Having suffered a 77-69 defeat to Hastings in late November, it appeared the Bluejays were determined to achieve a different outcome the second time around.

This time playing on its home court, Tabor used a solid effort to roll to a 96-78 victory, aided by a blistering second-half performance in which the Bluejays made 74 percent of their attempts from the field (20-for-27) to finish at 60 percent shooting for the night (36-for-60).

Aside from trailing by three early, Tabor took control and maintained it, bursting to a double-digit, 22-8, lead when Jonathan Gibson scored at the 12:13 mark. Lance Carter led the effort with seven points.

Hastings used a 16-6 run to narrow the gap to 28-24 with 6:10 left in the half. Tabor endured a three-minute stretch without scoring.

The Broncos later drew within 33-31, and Tabor maintained a narrow, 40-37 lead at halftime.

Tabor went on a 15-5 run to start the second half, fueled by seven points from Tullio Parry, giving Tabor a 55-42 advantage.

The Bluejays kept their intensity, and the closest Hastings got after that was within eight, 72-64, with 7:40 to play. JT Clerveus scored to start a 6-0 run, and Tabor enjoyed a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

The Bluejays took their largest lead of the night, 96-76, when Parry made a pair of free-throws with 41 seconds left, and Tabor went on to win by 18.

Carter led all scorers with 24 points to add to his eight rebounds and eight assists. Parry scored 16 points, Davaghndre Jones 15 and Julian Winton 11.

Coming—Tabor will resume play at Bethany Thursday. The women will play at 6 p.m. The men will play at 8 p.m.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13