Jays split two at Warrior Classic

Taylor Janzen eyes the basket during the first half of Tabor?s home game against Missouri Valley Tuesday. Janzen contributed nine points in Tabor?s 70-66 victory. The Bluejays defeated the Vikings a second time Saturday, 77-64. Janae Rempel / Free PressThe Tabor College women?s basketball team improved to 3-6 on the season after going 2-1 last week.

The Bluejays split two games at Sterling?s Warrior Classic Friday and Saturday.

Tabor opened the classic with a 73-70 loss to No. 23 Oklahoma Wesleyan Friday.

The Eagles burst to a 10-2 lead at the start, but Tabor closed the gap to 15-14 when Tonisha Dean made a two-point basket.

From there, though, the Eagles surged to their largest lead of the night, 30-16 and held the lead the duration of the half, taking a 34-28 advantage into the locker room having shot 53.8 percent from the field (14-26). Tabor, meanwhile, made nine of 32 attempts (28.1 percent).

Tabor battled back in the second half on 40.7 percent shooting. Tabor took a 50-49 lead, and the Bluejays enjoyed their largest margin of the night, 55-51, after a three-pointer by Kaleigh Troxell with 7:53 to play.

The Eagles reclaimed the advantage, though. Trailing 71-62, Tabor drew within 71-70 with 12 seconds left, thanks in part to three-point baskets by Zuercher and Taylor Hurd, but the Eagles held on to win by three.

Tabor shot 33.9 percent from the field in the game (20-59). Zuercher led with 14 points. Hurd added 13, Dean 12 and Wilgers 10.

The Bluejays closed the classic with a 77-64 victory over NAIA Division I opponent Missouri Valley. It was the team?s second meeting last week.

Tabor established the advantage from the start and built a 15-4 margin after Tena Loewen stole the ball and scored. The Vikings closed to within 24-20, but from there, the Bluejays surged to a 40-28 halftime advantage.

Tabor maintained the advantage the duration of the game, boosted by 84.4 shooting from the charity stripe (27-32) in the game. The Bluejays shot 36.8 percent from the field (21-57).

Three Bluejays scored in double figures, led by Tonisha Dean with a game-high 19 points. Troxell added 14 and Zuercher 10.Sam Short looks to score during the first half against Missouri Valley Tuesday. Short scored four points and grabbed nine rebounds in Tabor?s 70-66 win. Janae Rempel / Free Press

Missouri Valley?Tabor withstood a late Viking rally to win by four, 70-66, Tuesday.

Boosted by 8-for-11 first-half shooting from behind the arc (72.7 percent), Tabor built to an 18-point spread at halftime, 42-24. Kayla Wilgers contributed four three-point field goals to lead all scorers at the break with 12 points. Taylor Hurd tallied 10 points by halftime.

?I thought we did a better job of getting the ball inside,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?They have some big girls, and we struggled a little bit against them to try and score, but our guard play was really good in the first half, and we only turned the ball over eight times.

?I thought we had some silly turnovers in the first half, but defensively we were pretty solid.?

But Tabor?s shooting cooled in the second half, and the Vikings battled from the charity stripe, draining all 17 free throws they attempted. With a basket with 3:48 to play, the Vikings trimmed Tabor?s lead to single digits, 64-56.

?In the second half we had too many turnovers and we fouled too much,??Reed said. ?Those are the reasons they got back in the game.

?They scored points at the free-throw line with the clock stopped, and when they missed layups down there and we didn?t foul, they got rebounds, and we struggled with their height a little bit.?

Tabor scored only two points the next three minutes, and Missouri Valley closed the gap to 66-64 with two free throws with 31.9 seconds to go.

Mallory Zuercher and Tonisha Dean each made two free throws in the last 30 seconds to keep Tabor in front when the final buzzer sounded.

Wilgers led Tabor with 18 points. Dean added 12 and Hurd 10.

?I was really pleased with the first half,? Reed said. ?I?d like to have a better complete game, but a win is a win, and we?ll take it.?

Coming?Tabor (3-6) was scheduled to continue its tough non-conference schedule by hosting NAIA Division I No. 7 John Brown Tuesday and then playing an exhibition game at Fort Hays State Uni?versity Saturday at 2 p.m.

Conference play will begin Dec. 4 at South?western, who is tied with Friends at No. 13 in the coaches? preseason Top 25 poll.

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