HASTINGS, Neb - For the third time in two seasons, the Hastings College men's basketball team found themselves on the winning end of a contest with the Tabor Bluejays. In their last meeting on December 30, 2017, the Broncos were able to get out of Hillsboro, Kans., with a comfortable 92-66 victory. The Bluejays came to Lynn Farrell Arena on Monday, hoping to return the favor. This was not the case as it was the Broncos taking the 99-63 victory, also handing Tabor their second worst loss on the season.
The Broncos (11-4) saw themselves fall behind the Bluejays 2-0 with Shawntez Scroggins getting a bucket in the paint, but the lead only lasted eight seconds as a three-pointer by Logan Cale (JR/Lincoln, NE) put the Broncos ahead 3-2 only :59 seconds into the contest.
The Cale three-pointer started a 16-2 run for the Broncos that spanned nearly six minutes and gave the Broncos a strong 16-4 lead. Getting in on the scoring opportunities during the run were Kevin Miller (SR/Watts, CA), Bart Hiscock (JR/Bennington, NE), Shane Chamberlain (FR/Harlan, IA), and Zach Kitten (JR/Hastings, NE).
Brendan Lipovsky (JR/Fairfield, NE) was able to get the Broncos ahead by 20 at the 6:37 mark of the first half, a lead that dipped below 20 only five more times for the remainder of the contest.
The Broncos were able to do a lot of damage in the final 2:22 of the first half, going on an 11-0 run with a Lipovsky layup, a Chamberlain three-pointer, and a pair of buckets from beyond the arc from Ben Wahlberg (SR/Phoenix, AZ), giving the Broncos a 51-22 lead heading into halftime
The first timeout of the game came with 15:10 remaining after the Bluejays were able to go punch-for-punch with the Broncos, forcing a Broncos timeout to get the players back into the game mentally.
Head Coach Bill Gavers touched upon the lull in the beginning of the second half, saying "the start of the second half, they started hurting [the Broncos]. They got in the paint." Gavers also noted that, "we had 10 team fouls with 11 minutes left in the second half, and then we finished strong again."
The Bluejays were able to chisel into their deficit and make it a 17-point game at the 13:26 mark of the game, but the Broncos were able to keep the Bluejays at bay.
The point that the Broncos were able to cool down the surging Bluejay offense was when the Broncos lead 73-50. With the 23-point lead, thet were able to make it a 35-point lead off a 12-0 run. This time, Eli Hunter (JR/Grand Island, NE), Hiscock, Miller, Chamberlain, and Kitten got the scoring going during the run.
The bench was able to close out the game, with players such as Trevor Adelung (SO/Amherst, NE) and Austin Esch (SO/Hastings, NE) getting key assists and rebounds, while Shannon Watkins (SO/McKinney, TX) and Ryan Ierna (JR/Clearwater, FL) getting points down the stretch.
As a team, the Broncos' bench was able to scored 44 points, while the entire team had a 0.522 shooting percentage. In comparision, the Broncos defense was able to anchor down and hold the Bluejays to a 0.292 shooting percentage. The Broncos were also to stay in the possitive for turnovers, finishing the contest with a +3 turnover margin.
Individually, each Bronco that entered the game was able to help in some form. Miller led the team in scoring at 16 points. Other Broncos in double digits were Hiscock (14), Chamberlain (14), and Wahlberg (13). The fans were also treated to dunks from Hiscock and Watkins in the second half.
Next for the Broncos is an hour trip down I-80 to Kearney on Tuesday, where they will take on the NCAA Division-II UNK Lopers. The exhibition game is set for 8 p.m. CST.