Bluejays top friends, bobble vs. Ottowa


The Tabor College men?s basketball team defeated Friends 73-63 in Wichita Thursday, then gave conference-leading Ottawa a stern test Saturday in Hillsboro before falling 81-79.



Zach Vanselow lifts a shot high over Braves forward Clint Bones in the first half of Saturday?s 81-79 home loss. Vanselow was limited by foul trouble but dominated the paint with 17 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Ottawa?The Bluejays weathered a 19-for-27 storm unleashed in the first half by the Ottawa shooters, then roared back to within a shot of victory in front of an overflowing ?church night? crowd.

Zach Vanselow picked up a pair of early fouls and finished the first half with more points (8) than minutes played (7:46). Vanselow played his regular shift in the second period, adding 9 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bluejays charge back from a 54-40 deficit.

During a 9:03 span early in the second half, Tabor outscored the Braves 25-7 and knotted the game at 63-63. Kyle Kroeker scored a 2-pointer at 17:46 to start the run, a 3-pointer at 16:03, and a 4-point play when he was whacked by David Birch in the act of scoring a left wing triple at 15:06.

Orson Thomas took the shortest possible route from the perimeter to the rack at 9:08, tying the game at 63 on a layup.

Tabor continued to make hay at the defensive end, and Mike Rousell deposited a medium-range bank shot for the Bluejays? first lead of the period.

On Ottawa?s next trip, Birch scored his only points of the second half?a layup-and-one?after torching Tabor for 19 in the first half.

The Bluejays regained the lead on a fast-break layup by Jordan Funk, set up by a lead pass from Aaron Whitelaw. After an Ottawa turnover, Whitelaw put back an offensive rebound to extend Tabor?s lead to 69-66.

The Braves outscored the home team 5-1 to tie the game at 70 with 5:20 to go. The Bluejays regained the lead at 73-72 on a short jumper by Thomas set up by Vanselow.

Ottawa came back with a 5-0 outburst, and back-to-back baskets by Vanselow and Thomas evened the score at 77-77.

A layup-and-one by Matt Green gave Ottawa an 80-77 advantage, and Vanselow notched a pair of foul shots with 1:40 to go.

Ottawa committed back-to-back turnovers in the closing moments, but Tabor could not get a shot to fall. A 3-point bid from the top of the arc by Kroeker rimmed out, as did a short hook by Vanselow and a last-ditch one-hander by Whitelaw.

Birch tallied a game-high 22 points.

Four Bluejays scored in double-digits: Vanselow 17, Whitelaw 15, Kroeker 12 and Thomas 12.

Thomas completed his seventh double-double of the season?and fourth of the last six games?with 10 rebounds. Vanselow added 13 rebounds for his third double-double.


Friends?After a 2-2 tie, Tabor went on a 9-0 run and kept the Falcons on the ropes in the first half. The Bluejays gained a 12-point lead on a 3-point shot by Jared Hett at 7:31, and pushed that advantage to 35-23 and 39-27.

Zach Vanselow ramped it to 14 with the first points of the second half, but Friends assembled a 13-0 jaunt during the subsequent 3:01.

Mike Rousell broke the run with a layup off a pass from Kyle DeBlonk, and Aaron Whitelaw followed with a 3-pointer set up by Vanselow. Orson Thomas then put back his own miss, and Tabor led 49-40.

Friends closed the gap to 50-45, but the Bluejays matched the Falcons shot for shot until 4:01 remained.

Then the Bluejay defense put the pedal to the floor, using back-to-back steals and back-to-back scores by Hett on the fast break to regain a 12-point advantage.

Mike Rousell recorded three steals during a 1:26 stretch and Thomas put an exclamation point on the game, dunking a pass from Rousell with 40 seconds left.

Thomas finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Whitelaw went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and scored a game-high 17 points. Vanselow scored 15 points.

Coming?Tabor (6-8) plays Southwestern (9-5) at home Thursday and visits Bethel (5-9) Saturday.

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