The Tabor men?s basketball team survived double overtime to win over Friends University Thursday night, but the magic did not hold as they lost to rival Sterling College Saturday.
The Bluejays now stand at 8-11 and 4-4 on the season.
?We have the potential, we have the talent, it?s just up to (the seniors),? said head coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?We?ll see how much it matters to them.?
Sterling College – The Bluejays could not keep up with the Warriors late in their 76-66 defeat.
?Sterling hit some really big shots down the stretch and we did not,? said head coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?We competed and played hard enough to win the game, but you have to make shots. We got some really good looks and they just wouldn’t fall for us.?
The Tabor men looked a little shaky out of the gate, letting Sterling go up with six easy points.
But Kyle Wallace sank a three at 18:18 and seconds later, Joe Penn found Ryan Chippeaux on a long assist for the dunk, giving the Bluejays their first lead. Penn followed it up a minute later with a long jump shot to make it 9-6, Tabor.
But Sterling came back to take the lead at 14:44 with a three-pointer. Not to be outdone, Phillip Jimenez drained two three-point shots within a minute of each other to tie it twice.
Sterling then put up eight unanswered points, before Tabor broke free for a 9-4 scoring spurt that brought them within three, 29-26, at 4:47.
The Warriors found their footing in the last minutes of the half to hold a 39-32 lead at the break.
Tabor came out white hot with an 11-3 scoring run in the first six minutes of the second half.
Wallace kicked off the run with a basket, Chippeaux scored twice, and Jimenez scored and made the assist to Chippeaux before Wallace sank a three-pointer at 14:48 to bring the Bluejays within two, 45-43, at 14:48.
Wallace made a three-point play with the foul shot and then Michael Janzen hit the basket from beyond the arc to give Tabor a 49-47 lead with 12:11 left to play.
The Bluejays kept a narrow lead for three minutes of play time, but Sterling took it back at 9:04 to spark a 9-0 scoring run.
Lawson Kingsley finally snapped the drought at 5:49, bringing Tabor within four points, but the Warriors sank a three-pointer on the next play and drew away over the last few minutes of play time for the 10-point win.
Jimenez was an offensive force for Tabor with 18 points, followed up by Chippeaux with 15 and Wallace with 11 points.
Sterling beat Tabor on the boards by 10 and posted a 10 percent better shooting average for the game, but the Bluejays did win from beyond the arc, 24-18.
The bench was again a huge factor for Tabor, giving them 26 points. But Sterling killed the ‘Jays at the line, 22-8.
?Dylan Clarke Knaeble is out with a broken wrist and that hurts our ability to really defend and rebound,? Ratzlaff said. ?Guys will need to step up and find a way to get the job done.?
Friends?University – The Bluejays blew a 10-point lead in the second half, but scored 20 points in double overtime to secure an 87-78 win.
?It was a good group effort,? said head coach Micah Ratzlaff. ?The only way we?re good is if we?re all involved.?
The Falcons set the Bluejays back on their heels early, taking a quick 12-4 lead with a three-pointer at 14:41 over a Tabor team struggling to shoot the ball.
But, as has happened many times before this season, senior Lawson Kingsley provided the spark to the offensive engine, draining back-to-back three-pointers to put Tabor right back in the game.
Dylan Clark-Knaeble found the basket inside at 5:45 to tie the game for the second time, then just over a minute later to give Tabor their first lead, 23-21. Kingsley followed it up with three to seal the deal, and the Bluejays pulled away to a 34-26 lead at the break.
Tabor returned after halftime to maintain at least a comfortable 10-point lead for the first 12 minutes of the second half. The win appeared to be in the bag for the ‘Jays.
But Friends came roaring back with 14 unanswered points in the next 3:30 of play time.
They took a 54-53 lead with four minutes left on the clock. Janzen and Penn hit free throws to tie it up twice and send the game into overtime.
Janzen scored on a long jump shot at 3:26 to give the Bluejays a 61-59 lead, but the game would be tied twice more before Penn drained a three-point shot to put Tabor up, 67-65, with 29 seconds remaining in overtime.
But the showdown was not over, as the Falcons scored to send the game into double overtime.
But the Bluejays were finished with the back-and-forth contest, blazing their way to 20 points in the double overtime. in contrast to the 24 points they scored in the whole second half.
Kyle Wallace led the effort with eight points, but Chippeaux had six points and was a beast on the glass and defensively. The Bluejays steadily pulled away from Friends for the 12-point margin of victory.
It was truly a team win for Tabor, with six players in double digits and the Bluejays getting 30 points off the bench.
Clark-Knaeble scored 16 points before fouling out in double overtime, Penn had 13 points and Kyle Wallace 12 points.
?I thought Kyle Wallace did a great job leading, taking care of the ball,? Ratzlaff said. ?He had a couple big drives and stepped up and made some free throws at the end.?
Chippeaux earned the double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds and Kingsley and Janzen each contributed 10 points to the offensive effort.
The Bluejays had size on their side, helping them to out-rebound Friends by a sizable 50-37 margin and earn 16 second-chance points to the Falcon’s six. They also had six more points from beyond the arc than Friends.
?Our depth was big and then guys being able to play with four fouls,? Ratzlaff said. ?It?s hard, when everyone is trying to get to the foul line at the end. It was a good effort.?
Overall, the hard-fought contest saw eight ties and nine lead changes.
?I told my guys, it doesn?t matter how you do it,? Ratzlaff said. ?It doesn?t matter where you?re at, just find a way to get it done, and move on. So we?ll take it.?
Coming – Tabor is scheduled to play at the University of St. Mary Jan. 18 before hosting Southwestern Saturday.
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Thursday and 5 p.m. Saturday. See hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage.