Tabor trumps highly touted Southwestern twice

Things were looking rosy even before the games Thursday night in
Hillsboro, and the Tabor College basketball teams sent the visiting
Southwestern College teams packing with a pair of losses. A 68-60 win
had the Bluejay women feeling the love and a 58-57 win sent the
Moundbuilder men away seeing a hundred shades of red.

Behind 20 points from Stacie Herman and a dozen from Joanna
Pyle, the Bluejays ran away with the early game. Leading 30-26 at
halftime, Tabor blew it open early in the second half.

A
2-pointer by Chelsea Malone got things rolling 14 seconds out of
intermission, and the women rolled their lead up to 40-33 on
back-to-back-to-back-to-back foul shots by Brittany Roth, who nailed
one pair at 15:30 and? another at 15:01.

Southwestern rallied to
trim it to 44-42, but Tabor put together an 11-0 run to obtain their
biggest lead of the night at 55-42. With just over three minutes to go,
Southwestern conceded that it could not stop the Bluejay offense,
opting to foul and applying a full-court press instead.

The
gambit allowed the Moundbuilders to close the gap to 63-57 with 1:02 to
go, and coach Shawn Winter had seen enough. After a timeout, Malone ran
the baseline like a quarterback rolling out of the pocket, then fired a
home-run pass over the top of the defense. Pyle grabbed it on one hop
in the Bluejays lane and scooped it in, drawing a foul from the beaten
defender in the process. She added the free throw with 1:01 seconds to
go. Southwestern outscored Tabor 3-2 the rest of the way.

The
men's game went down to the wire. Southwestern took a 27-26 lead into
halftime, but Tabor dominated the early phase of the second half,
outscoring the Moundbuilders 10-2 in the first 2:49. The visitors cut
it to 36-34 and took a 48-43 lead at 10:16.? Southwestern guard Alwyn
Jordan drilled three consecutive 3-point shots during a 1:12 span to
provide the 5-point advantage.

Tabor eliminated Jordan at the
defensive end and rallied to tie it 49-49 with 6:27 to go. Orson Thomas
made it 51-all with an offensive rebound and score, then knotted it at
53-53 with a soft touch at the end of a fierce dribble-drive with 3:38
to go.Tabor used a timeout after the foul shot to set up its endgame strategy.

Whatever
they settled in the huddle paid immediate dividends, as Aaron Whitelaw
stripped the ball from Justin Diggles on the ensuing possession. Mike
Rousell converted the turnover into instant offense, knocking down a
3-pointer with 3:11 to go.

Diggles scored at the other end but
missed the "and-1" foul shot that had the potential to tie the game.
After a 3-point bid by Whitelaw rattled out, Tabor stuffed Trey
Merrifield at the other end. Whitelaw caught the defensive rebound and
immediately sent a 30-foot outlet pass to Rousell, who converted the
fast break layup for a 58-55 lead with 2:02 left.

Jordan scored
with 1:20 to go, making it 58-57. Then Rousell and Jordan traded
3-point misses. A Tabor rebound of Jordan's miss led to a
clock-stopping foul of Kyle Kroeker with 26 seconds left. A miss on the
front end of a 1-and-1 was apparently wiped away when Whitelaw knocked
Diggles' dribble off the Southwestern pointman's leg, and
Southwestern's hopes rolled out of bounds near the scorer's table.

But
much to the chagrin of the pink-clad masses in attendance, an official
ruled that Whitelaw touched it last. Displeasure's finest serenade
descended on the court, only to be transform into thundering approval
on a traveling call against Diggles, who fell down trying to get past
Whitelaw.

With 10.5 seconds still remaining, Tabor inbounded to
Caleb Good, who slipped through a Moundbuilders double-team only to
have a whistle stop the clock yet again. Good went to the line missed
the first 1-and-1 shot. Diggles roared back the other way, shanking a
desperation 3-pointer off the back of the iron as time expired.

The win gave Tabor a win over the team chosen nearly unanimously to win the conference in preseason polling.?

Tabor travels to Bethel Saturday. The women (10-5) closed to within a game of second in the conference and play Saturday at 5 p.m. The men (7-8) play at 7 p.m.

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