Kansas Wesleyan—Tabor earned an 84-70 victory Saturday.
It was first-year Coyote coach Anthony Monson’s first return to Hillsboro after serving as assistant to coach Micah Ratzlaff the past nine seasons.
The Bluejays made 54 percent of their attempts from the field (34-for-63), including 59 percent in the second half (19-for-32).
Tabor showed intensity from the start, scoring the game’s first eight points and bursting to a 14-2 lead six minutes in, led by Davaghndre Jones with seven points in that stretch.
However, Kansas Wesleyan outscored Tabor, 15-2, after that to claim the lead, 17-16, and the teams traded baskets. The Bluejays trailed by one, 23-22, with 4:30 left in the half, but outscored the Coyotes, 17-3 after that to enjoy a 39-26 advantage at halftime. Julian Winton scored five points during that time, including the final two-pointer of the half.
“We were ready to roll, and we got after it on defense, and we played really well and focused,” Ratzlaff said of his team’s intensity at the start. “I knew the game would settle in a little bit, but (Kansas Wesleyan) did a great job of coming back after being down a lot.”
At the start of the second half, Tullio Parry capped an 8-0 Bluejay run with a basket that gave Tabor its largest lead, 47-26. But over the next seven minutes, the Coyotes cut into that lead, drawing within 59-52 with 10:24 to go.
Seven points was the closest the Coyotes came, however, and a basket by Alan Urrutia with 4:16 to play gave Tabor a double-digit lead for good, 71-60. In the end, the Bluejays earned a 14-point win.
“They shoot the ball really well, usually, from three,” Ratzlaff said. “They went 3-for-15. Our goal was to run them off that three-point line but still realize that they are capable of putting it on the floor.”
Jones led all scorers with 24 points. Carter scored 22 to go with his nine rebounds and seven assists. Winton scored 16 points.
Bethany—The conference-leading Bluejays earned a 90-78 victory over a Swede team just one game back in the KCAC standings Thursday.
Lance Carter proved to be an unstoppable force, scoring a game-high 28 points while making 10 of 12 attempts from the field, including a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc.
The teams battled to a 42-42 standstill by halftime, even though Tabor shot a higher percentage (59 percent, 16-for-27) than Bethany (38 percent, 16-for-42).
“First half, both teams were kind of going back and forth,” coach Micah Ratzlaff said. “We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but made a little run and it was tied at half. The second half, Lance took over.”
Bethany missed its first seven three-point attempts in the game’s first 10 minutes. Following a 15-15 tie, Tabor enjoyed a 7-0 run. Cody May scored five of those points, including a three that gave Tabor its largest lead of the half, 22-15.
Bethany made six threes in the final 9:04 and battled back to tie the game at 31. The teams remained tied at halftime.
With Bethany in front, 52-51, Tabor caught fire with a 24-4 run. Carter lit the fuse with a two-pointer off an assist by Davaghndre Jones, then Carter dished the ball to Jones who scored on Tabor’s next possession. The duo combined to score the first 16 points of the run.
Carter capped it with his fourth three-pointer of the night to give Tabor a 19-point lead, 75-56, with 9:39 to play.
The Swedes, however, went on a scoring spree of their own, knocking down three three-pointers in a 1:11 span to help trim Tabor’s lead to 77-69.
The Bluejays responded with a string of seven points and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Tabor made 58 percent of its attempts from the field (35-for-60), compared with 38 percent for Bethany (30-for-80).
Two Bluejays joined Carter in double-digit scoring: Jones 18 and Alan Urrutia 10.
Coming—Tabor (9-1, 12-6) will travel to Oklahoma Wesleyan (4-6, 7-10) Thursday for an 8 p.m. game and will play at Bethel (4-6, 10-8) Saturday at 7 p.m. to start the second half of the conference season.