Bluejays lose to Saint Mary, Friends

Morgan Ediger eyes the basket during the second half against Saint Mary Saturday. Ediger led Tabor’s scoring effort with 19 points in the Bluejays’ 76-71 overtime loss. The Tabor College women’s basketball team suffered a two-game slide last week with losses to Friends and Saint Mary. The Bluejays remain second in the KCAC standings behind Friends with a 13-3 record, 18-5 overall.

Coach Shawn Reed listed three things that need to happen for his team to get back on track.

“First of all, we need to get better defensively,” he said. “It’s not tough to score on us, and we’re not helping each other. We’re not playing defense as a unit, as a group.

“Two, we need to take care of the basketball better. We have the ability to score a lot of points, but we’re taking that ability away from ourselves by turning the ball over.

“The final thing is we just need to pay closer attention to detail, whether that’s the scouting report or setting better screens or setting up our man for screens, just doing the little things.

“We’re talented, but we’re not doing those things, so that’s hurting our ability to be successful. Honestly, we haven’t done those very much this year, but our talent has won us a lot of games.”

Saint Mary—On the heels of a loss at Friends, Tabor let Saturday’s game slip away late in a 76-71 overtime loss.

Although the game was tied five times in regulation, Saint Mary did not take the lead until overtime.

The Bluejays claimed the lead from the start with a two-pointer by Kaleigh Troxell 15 seconds in, and Tabor built a 15-10 advantage when Tristen Leiszler scored with 4:03 to play. At the end of the first quarter, the Bluejays led, 18-15.

Tabor then outscored the Spires, 9-4 to enjoy its largest margin of the night, 27-19, after Kyli Webber scored with 6:31 left in the half. But an 8-0 Saint Mary rally over the next 3:40 tied the game at 27. Taylor Deniston and Morgan Ediger fired off three-pointers in a 43-second span to put Tabor back in front, and the half ended with Tabor leading, 37-31, despite having committed 14 turnovers.

Slowly, the Spires chipped away, outscoring the Bluejays 17-14 in the third quarter when Tabor made five of 15 field goal attempts. By the end of the quarter, Tabor’s lead was trimmed to 51-48.

The Bluejays led by as many as 56-50 with 8:19 left in the game, but a 9-4 Spire surge left Tabor clinging to a one-point lead.

The Bluejays stretched it to three a few times, but the Spires tied the game at 66 with a three with 1:04 remaining. Tena Loewen scored after that, but the Spires answered with a tying basket with 12 seconds to play. The Bluejays missed two shots in the final seconds, sending the game into overtime, locked at 68.

Tabor was scoreless the first 3:26 of overtime, allowing Saint Mary to take the lead, 72-68. Jurnee Reid broke the drought at the 1:34 mark, which was Tabor’s only basket of the period. The Spires outscored Tabor, 4-1 in the final 1:08 to claim the win.

Ediger led Tabor’s scoring effort with 19 points. Deniston scored 13. Loewen grabbed 11 rebounds to add to her nine points. Reid scored nine points.

Friends—Tabor suffered a 71-58 defeat to the 14th-ranked Falcons Wednesday, snapping a 12-game win streak held since a Dec. 1 loss to Friends. With the win, Friends improved its KCAC-best record to 14-0; Tabor dropped to 13-2.

Tabor entered the game ranked 16th nationally in scoring defense per game (58.6), but the effort of Friends’ Lexi Evans and Shann Sellers, who scored 24 and 22 points, respectively, helped propel the Falcons to victory.

Tabor was once again plagued by turnovers—the Bluejays committed 31 in the teams’ first meeting and 25 this time around.

Tabor dug itself in a hole from the start, as 53 percent shooting by the Falcons (8-for-15) contributed to a 19-11 Friends lead by the first break. Tabor made five of 13 attempts in the first quarter (39 percent).

The hole only grew deeper in the second quarter. When Tabor missed its first four attempts from the field, Friends went on a 14-0 run to lead 33-11. The Bluejays committed four turnovers in the first 2:49. Tena Loewen broke the scoring drought at the 6:16 mark, but the damage had been done. Friends went 7-for-12 from the field in the quarter (58 percent), and the Bluejays trailed, 42-21, at halftime.

Tabor outscored Friends in the second half, including a 14-10 third-quarter advantage. Kaleigh Troxell drained a three-pointer 15 seconds into the period to ignite a 6-0 Bluejay run. By the end of the quarter, Tabor trailed, 52-35.

The Bluejays scored 23 points to Friends’ 19 in the fourth quarter. Tabor’s leading scorer, Morgan Ediger, recorded 12 of her 16 points in the final period, including Tabor’s first eight points to bring the Bluejays within 57-43, but Friends stretched its lead to 20, 63-43.

A 10-3 Bluejay run over the next four minutes trimmed that margin to 13, but that was as close as Tabor got, and the Bluejays lost by that margin in the end.

Coming—Tabor, who ranks 18th nationally, will travel to McPherson (7-9, 12-12) Thursday for a 6 p.m. game and will host Ottawa (12-4, 16-8) Saturday at 5 p.m. The Braves are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll and are one game behind the Bluejays in the conference standings.

Reed’s main emphasis moving forward is improvement, win or lose.

“I want to see improvement in the things that we need to improve in,” he said. “That really needs to be our focus. The results will take care of themselves if we’re doing the things that we need to do.”