The Tabor College men’s basketball team trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but took a 45-43 lead into the break and turned it into a 12-point win on the first night of conference games in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Cody Arnold played less than six minutes of the first half and had zero points at the break, but hit four second-half 3-pointers, helping Tabor take a 92-80 victory over the Warriors. Arnold totaled 18 points.
Five minutes into the game, it was tied at 12. But for the next seven minutes of the first half, it was all Sterling: 3-pointers by Zach Goodrich and Randy July put the Warriors ahead 26-18 at 9:56; Tabor cut it to four on a triple by Rob Moore, but Trenton Stutzman, Kenny McGrath and Zach Poole? took advantage of turnovers to amp Sterling’s lead to 35-26. The Bluejays ripped control of the game right out of the Warriors’ grasp. The Bluejays front line out-rebounded Sterling 5-1 and Kyle Kroeker hit two technical foul free throws as Tabor drew within a possession, 35-34. After Lawson Kingsley knocked down a 3-pointer, Damon Dechant closed out the half with a defensive rebound, two free throws, a steal and a layup in the final 1:30.
Sterling never recovered, as Kroeker, Dan Hann, Dechant and Moore combined to score eight of the first 10 points in the second half. Then the Bluejays 3-point shooting kicked in, as Michael Janzen set up treys for Kingsley and Arnold 33 seconds apart. Kingsley fed Arnold for a triple, then Ryan Chippeaux set one up for Kingsley. Arnold nailed a contested triple for a 15-point lead.
Sterling played a quick-foul game for most of the final five minutes, but made almost no headway.
In the women’s game, Cathryn Wiebe helped the Warriors make an early statement, both to the Bluejays and to the rest of the conference: Sterling is prepared to defend its high ranking.
Not that there was ever a doubt.
After MacKenzie Dick gave Tabor a 6-5 lead, the Warriors put together a 7-2 run to seize control and then used a 17-0 run that, for all practical purposes, ended the contest with 5:08 left in the first half. Dick knocked down a 3-pointer that ended the scoring drought, but the Bluejays needed to cut Sterling’s lead into single digits before halftime. Gina Hullet’s basket starting the second half trimmed the Warriors lead to 11, 38-27.
Sterling restored its edge to 17 with a 3-pointer by Madison Lucas, and pushed it 18 on a steal-and-score layup by Wiebe. The lead hit 20, 65-45, on Wiebe’s 3-pointer and reached as much as 23.
Dick finished with 16 points, Tynan Honn totaled 15, and Hullet finished with 10.
Tabor hosts Bethel Saturday. The women’s varsity plays at 5 p.m. and the men follow at 7.