Tabor comeback falls short in home opener vs. Baker

After a second-half comeback to beat Benedictine, 70-60, in Atchison Tuesday, the Tabor men?s basketball team fell short in a second-half comeback to Baker Friday, losing, 63-59, in Hillsboro.

?This team fought really hard,? coach Micah Ratzlaff said. ?We were down by 12 or 13 in the second half and we fought to get back within one.?

Tabor had a chance to tie the game with 0:07 to play with Cody Arnold on the free-throw line after being fouled on a 3-point shot. Arnold missed the first charity throw, made the second and missed the third.

Baker then made two free throws in the remaining seconds to secure the victory.

With under a minute to play, again Tabor was within one basket of the Wildcats.

Rainy River Community College transfer Dylan Clark-Kaneable converted a layup from the block to cut Baker?s lead to 59-58. The bucket completed a 6-0 run after Tabor trailed, 59-52, with about 3:00 left to play.

At the 7:00 mark, Tabor?s Phillip Jimenez drained a 3-point basket and Lawson Kingsley followed with two free throws to shrink the Baker lead to 53-49.

Tabor made it a one-point game when Clay Shewey hit a three from the top of the key for a 53-52 contest.

In the first half, Baker jumped to a quick 7-2 lead. Tabor tied the game at 7-7 with a Cody Arnold three at the 16:00 mark.

?I think we struggled getting out of the gate tonight,? Ratzlaff said. ?I don?t know this team quite yet, so I don?t know if that?s a mental thing. They actually looked tired about a minute into the game.?

The rest of the first half was back and forth with six lead changes and six ties before Baker made a late run to go into the locker room with 36-28 lead.

Despite taking the NAIA Division I team to the final seconds, Ratzlaff thinks his young squad should have won.

?We?re at home and I think we can beat those guys,? he said. ?It?s not like I think they should have walked in here and spanked us.?

Tabor struggled shooting the ball, finishing at 32 percent. Baker made 39 percent.

Ratzlaff said impatience was the problem.

?We?re down here running 30 seconds of defense and we?re making Baker run about 10,? he said. ?We?re getting worn down, and we?re one-and-done on the offense end.

?The shooting, it?s not in rhythm,? he added. ?If we?re patient on offense, we?re going to hit those shots.?

Baker relied on perimeter shooting, sinking seven of 18 threes, led by Austin Bond, who finished with a game-high 19-points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Jaris Wommack had 13 points and was 2-of-3 for three.

Tabor committed only eight turnovers compared to Baker?s 11. The Bluejays were out-rebounded 43-34.

Short-handed in the post, Ratzlaff said having a fourth post player with the return of 6-foot, 6-inch Napa Valley College transfer Max Frise will help on the boards

?Our bigs wore down a little bit,? he said. ?We?re ready to get Max back and run four deep and really get at some people.?

Damon Dechant led the Tabor attack with 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Clark-Kaneable had 11 points and seven rebounds. He was 9-for-12 from the foul line.

Tabor (1-1) was scheduled to host Haskell Monday at 5 p.m.

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