Both Tabor basketball teams earned wins Saturday at Kansas Wesleyan. The women defeated the Coyotes 81-77 and improved to 15-3 in the KCAC, 19-9 overall, while the men edged Kansas Wesleyan 84-79 and improved to 14-4, 15-12.
WOMEN ? Tabor found its spark at the end of the first half Saturday night and held on in a tight battle down the stretch for a four-point victory.
It was a slow start for the Bluejays, however, as Kansas Wesleyan surged to a 16-4 double-digit lead eight minutes into the game. But the Bluejays used a 7-0 run to draw within five, 16-11, when Nikki Lewis drained a three-point basket. Lewis contributed two more baskets behind the arc in the next three minutes, helping Tabor narrow the Coyote lead to 21-19 with 6:54 left in the half. But Kansas Wesleyan built a nine-point, 32-23, lead at 2:46 when Tabor shots refused to fall. The Bluejays turned on the heat in the final minutes, outscoring the home team 11-1 to take a 34-33 lead into the locker room after Katlyn Mary hit a basket with one second left.
Kansas Wesleyan regained a 38-36 lead less than one minute into the second half, but Mary bumped the score back to the Bluejays? favor, 43-41, with a three-point basket at 17:30. After the Coyotes evened the score half a minute later, it was again Mary who gave Tabor the edge with a basket behind the arc, this time with 16:09 left to play. Kansas Wesleyan took the lead two more times before Lewis and Mary hit back-to-back three point baskets to put Tabor in the lead for good, 54-52, with 11:11 left to play. The Bluejays took their largest lead, 68-59, with 4:37 left to play when Molly Dick scored, but Kansas Wesleyan battled to within three, 70-67, with 1:46 left on the clock. Molly Moran drained a three-pointer at 1:04 to give Tabor a 75-67 advantage, but the Coyotes scored 20 seconds later and began sending the Bluejays to the charity stripe. Dick hit two free throws with 45 seconds left, but the Coyotes drained a three-point basket seven seconds later and followed with a basket that narrowed Tabor?s lead to 77-74 with 19 seconds left. Moran made one of two from the charity stripe, but the Coyotes drained another three-pointer to draw within 78-77 with 11 seconds on the clock. Mary made two free throws, and the next Kansas Wesleyan basket missed its mark. Dick scored Tabor?s final point with one second left to seal the Tabor victory.
Lewis led all scorers with 26 points, followed by Mary with 22.
MEN ? Tabor?s 84-79 victory at Kansas Wesleyan Saturday helped the Bluejays secure the number two seed in the postseason conference tournament and end the regular season second in the KCAC behind Saint Mary.
Tabor fell behind to start the game, with the Coyotes bursting to a double-digit 13-3, lead five minutes into the contest. But Tabor began to close the gap, and when the Coyotes could not hit a shot, sure-fire shooting helped the Bluejays explode with a 19-0 run to take a 28-16 lead with 6:37 left before halftime. The Coyotes drew within seven, 28-21, at 4:15, but Tabor surged to a 43-29 halftime advantage after Brent Jackson scored with 15 seconds left in the half.
Tabor maintained at least a 10-point margin the first 15 minutes of the second half. Ryan Chippeaux got a dunk at 16:03 for a 54-35 Tabor lead, and Jackson followed less than four minutes later with a one-handed slam dunk that turned into a traditional three-point play when he drew a foul on the way to the basket. A Reggie Butler three-point basket gave Tabor its largest lead of the night, 66-41, with 10:26 left to play. But Tabor cooled a bit on offense, and Kansas Wesleyan started hitting shots and forcing Tabor turnovers to close the gap to 72-76 with 2:19 left to play. A three-point basket by the Coyotes brought Kansas Wesleyan within 80-77 with 25 seconds on the clock, but Tabor made just enough baskets down the stretch to clinch the five-point victory.
Jackson came off the bench to score a game-high 30 points. Chippeaux had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Nick Sauer added 10 points.
COMING – Both Tabor teams enter the postseason tournament as the No. 2 seeds. The Tabor men will open play Friday at home against seventh-seeded Ottawa (9-19, 6-12). Action is set to begin at 6 p.m. The Tabor women will follow by hosting No. 7 Ottawa (9-19, 5-13) at 8 p.m. (Note date and time changes).