HESSTON — The Hesston College men’s basketball team kept the lead against the Tabor College junior varsity for nearly the entire game Saturday at the conclusion of the Hesston College Thanksgiving Classic. It wasn’t until the final minutes that the host Larks could feel comfortable, claiming a 76-58 win. Hesston finishes the classic 1-1. The Tabor JV finishes 0-2. “We didn’t guard the post very well, and they did a good job of getting post entries,” Hesston coach Dustin Galyon said. “We gambled sometimes, which led to easy shots. We played hard for 40 minutes and they played hard for 40 minutes. This is always the trap game. Last night, we played a JUCO team we hoped to beat, but we didn’t play well last night. We stayed the course for 40 minutes. Our energy and commitment was good. We hit some shots. We needed a game to bounce back. That’s what we needed. Tabor is a well-coached team. They play hard.” Hesston was led by Alex Santiago with 19 points, followed by Beau Palmer with 16 and Mahlon Jones with 15. Santiago hit three 3-pointers and eight of 10 from the free throw line. Santiago took several hard fouls late in the game that resembled tackles. “I have no clue,” Santiago said. “I’ve been in those situations before. You just have to keep it cool and make them pay at the free throw line.” Santiago is a sophomore from Burrton. He said he’s not sure what his plans are beyond this season. “There are a couple of looks I’m looking at,” he said. “I’m just trying to play as hard as I can this season.” Santiago was held to three points Friday. “It was just confidence from my teammates and my coach,” Santiago said. “We were struggling yesterday. This was a good bounce back game for us.” “The big thing for Santiago is he kept it simple,” Galyon said. “When he keeps things simple, he’s a great basketball player. He can shoot with anybody in the country.” Tabor was led by Nic Leppke with 15 points, Sawyer Golden with 14 and David Loewen with 10. Hesston jumped ahead 8-2, but Tabor replied with an 11-4 run. Tabor then took a time out, but Hesston went on an 11-0 run. Eyan Roth hit a trey for Hesston to put the Larks up by 12 with 30 seconds left in the period. Matt Bird answered for Tabor with a jumper at the buzzer to cut the Lark lead back to 10, 40-30. Hesston led by as many as 13, 50-37, with 13:12 remaining in regulation. Tabor came back with an 8-2 run to prompt a Lark time out. The Larks then missed two layups under heavy physical contact and Tabor hit a jumper to get within five. The Larks came back with a short Roth jumper, followed by treys by Santiago and Mason Davis. Tabor again got back within eight, but Hesston came back with a 7-0 run. Hesston hosts Johnson County Community College at 8 p.m. Wednesday. “It will have to be our best effort for 40 minutes,” Galyon said. “They are a very good team. They are really good. They are well coached.” NOC-E 78, Southeast (Neb.) CC 76 Northern Oklahoma-Enid held off Southeast (Neb.) Community College 78-76 to finish 2-0 in the classic. Jemery Espinoza led the Jets with 20 points, followed by David Lewis III and Connor Brooks with 13 points each. Kyndall Dudley scored 10 points. Southeast was led by Fernando Hildreth with 15 points, followed by Tyrell Corlew with 14, Michael Johnson with 12 and Josh Roberts with 12.
TABOR JV (0-7) — Money 0 0-2 0, Allen 2 2-2 6, Golden 4 6-13 14, Bird 2 0-0 4, Wayett 1 0-2 2, Loewen 4 2-4 10, Bumgarner 2 1-2 5, Leppke 7 0-1 15, Lang 0 0-0 0, Rice 1 0-0 2, TOTALS 23 11-25 58. HESSTON (5-5) — M.Jones 5 5-8 15, Roth 3 0-0 7, Gingerich 1 0-0 3, Santiago 4 8-10 19, Barnes 0 2-2 2, Zook 1 0-0 3, Palmer 5 6-8 16, Smoot 0 0-0 0, Davis 2 0-0 5, Patterson 2 2-2 6, TOTALS 23 23-30 76. Tabor 30 28 —58 Hesston 40 36 —76 Total fouls — TC 27, HC 21. Technical fouls — none. Intentional foul — TC: Rice. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — TC 1 (Leppke 1), HC 7 (Roth 1, Gingerich 1, Santiago 3, Zook 1, Davis 1). Turnovers — TC 16, HC 8. All-Classic Team Delquan Thomas, Southeast (Neb.) CC Connor Brooks, Northern Oklahoma-Enid Sawyer Golder, Tabor JV Beau Palmer, Hesston Mahlon Jones, Hesston Jeremy Espinoza, Northern Oklahoma-Enid—MVP