Tabor women knock off sixth-ranked Hastings, 66-65

The Tabor College women’s basketball team improved to 12-3 with a pair of wins in the holiday classic, including a victory over sixth-ranked Hastings on New Year’s Eve.

Hastings—Tabor, ranked 20th nationally, used a furious fourth-quarter rally to win, 66-65, Saturday.

Struggling against the Bronco press, Tabor turned the ball over four times in the first 3:23, and did not score until Tristen Leiszler made a three at the 6:03 mark. Tabor built an 8-6 lead but lost it with a 7-0 Bronco run. By the end of the first quarter, Hastings led, 19-12.

Tabor closed the gap to 21-19 after Morgan Ediger made a three-pointer and Tena Loewen scored twice, but a 10-2 Bronco run extended it to 31-21. Tabor trailed, 39-32 at halftime and 57-46 after three quarters.

Then Tabor picked up the intensity. A basket by Jurnee Reid ignited a 14-2 rally that gave Tabor the lead, 60-59, with 1:43 to play. Hastings’ scoring drought lasted 6:32.

Taylor Deniston made a three with 58 seconds left, but Hastings took advantage of a Bluejay turnover and jumped in front, 64-63, with 25 seconds to play.

Deniston scored with 18 seconds left to give Tabor the lead, 65-64, then Reid blocked Hastings’ next attempt. Loewen secured the rebound and was fouled. She made the second of two free-throws to put Tabor in front, 66-64. A foul sent the Broncos to the charity stripe with less than 1 second to play, where Hastings made one of two free-throws.

“I think we wanted it a little too much in the first half,” coach Shawn Reed said. “We were trying a little too hard.

“I tried to remain pretty calm during the game because I think in a game like that, that’s what the team needs. I told them, ‘We’re in this. We’re fine. Just keep chipping away,’ and we did.”

Loewen led the Bluejays with 15 points. Ediger scored 14, and Deniston 10.

Johnson & Wales—In the teams’ second meeting, Tabor rolled to an 85-36 win to open the holiday classic Friday. Tabor had earned a 63-54 win on Nov. 12.

The Bluejays made 47 percent of their attempts from the field (30-for-64), while limited the Wildcats to 26 percent (13-for-51).

Tabor outscored the Wildcats, 11-4, at the start and ended the first quarter on a 7-0 run for a 20-10 lead.

Amber Bonham capped a 20-6 run with a pair of threes that put Tabor in front, 40-16, and the Bluejays led, 40-21, at halftime.

Tabor made 10 of 16 third-quarter attempts, enjoying a 21-2 run at the start. The period ended with Tabor leading, 66-27, and the Bluejays led by as many as 50 en route to the win.

“We should have put them away last time like that,” coach Shawn Reed said. “I was especially pleased with the second half because we only allowed them 15 points. I subbed and there was no drop-off.”

Tena Loewen led all scorers with 16 points. Bonham and Madison Schmelzer each scored 13.

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