The KCAC basketball coaches and media might have missed the boat on the Tabor College Bluejays.
The Bluejays certainly didn’t look like a team that was picked to finish in the KCAC’s second division here Tuesday, as they outscored Central Christian College 88-80 at Pyle Complex.
The Bluejays shot 63 percent in the second half, not to mention draining 17 of 19 free throws after having made 8 of 9 in the first half.
“They’re good -- they’re very good,” said Central Christian coach Tony Romero, whose team fell to 3-2 on the year. “But our defense was terrible. We were eating turkey already. We knew this might be our toughest game of the first semester. Coach (Micah) Ratzlaff does a great job with them and they execute very well.”
The Bluejays came out scorching, burning the nets for 25 points in the first eight minutes. The Tigers finally tightened up and managed to cut the lead to five, 41-36, by intermission.
But the Tigers never got it closer than three and Tabor’s Damon Dechant, one of the top contenders for KCAC Player of the Year, wore out the baseline, driving by CCC defenders time and again for layups or dunks. He scored 21 of  his 29 points in the second half.
“Dechant is a beast, a real beast and a great player,” Romero said.
The 6-6 Dechant was 11 of 15 from the floor and did not miss any of his seven free throws. Cody Arnold added 13 points, Max Frise came off the bench for 11 and Phillip Jimenez chipped in with 10. The Bluejays’ length was evident by their 39-27 advantage off the glass.
Randall Conley did his best to keep the Tigers in it, pouring in 31 points and was 8 of 11 from 3-point. He scored 15 points in the final 4:29 to give the Tigers what proved to be false hope. Kaelon Gary was the only other Tiger in double figures with 14.
Romero was disappointed that the Tigers couldn’t get to the foul line more, as they were 9 of 11. They did hit 11 of 22 from 3-point, but Tabor’s defense turned them basically into a jump-shooting team.
Central Christian now begins a stretch of four straight road games, starting Monday at Grace University.
CCC (80) -- Gavin 3 2-2 9; Jones 3 2-2 8; Posey 2 0-0 4; Gary 6 2-3 14; Cotton 3 0-0 7; Conley 11 3-4 31; Ford 1 0-0 2; Norris 2 0-0 5. Totals -- 30 9-11 80. 3-pointers -- Conley 8, Gavin 1, Cotton 1, Norris 1.
Tabor (88) -- Dechant 11 7-7 29; Chippeaux 3 2-2 8; Kinsley 0 7-8 7; Arnold 5 0-1 13; Jimenez 3 3-4 10; Shewey 0 2-2 2; Clark-Kaneable 2 2-2 6; Janzen 1 0-0 2; Frise 4 2-3 11. Totals -- 29 25-28 88. 3-pointers -- Arnold 3, Jimenez 1, Frise 1.