On a Knife Edge

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson

MANITOWOC, Wis. -- For the first time in over 30 years, the Sabercats topped the Silver Lake College Lakers thanks to a night that Kelsey Johnson won't forget.

The junior scored a career-high 26 points to fuel a 68-64 win, and with just two lead changes, this game was all about holding off the comeback.

  • Result: Maranatha 68-64 Silver Lake
  • Venue: UW-Manitowoc Fieldhouse
  • Location: Manitowoc, Wis.
  • Attendance: 171
  • Records: MBU (3-5), SLC (5-12)

The largest lead anyone had on the night was 12 points, and the Sabercats had to hold off the Lakers late in the game to secure a hard-earned road win.

As the game got into a rhythm, the Sabercats shared the wealth, as six different contributors put up a 15-point effort in the opening 10 minutes. MBU shot 50 percent collectively while forcing SLC to stay below the 40-percent mark, but the Lakers showed signs of resilience late on in the first quarter.

That resilience soon paid off, as the hostesses put up 20 points to take the lead into the halftime break. Tasha Rabe came flying off the bench to tally 9 points for the Lakers, who were enjoying their first lead of the game.

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Rabe shouldn't have done that. 

Because by the end of the third quarter, the Sabercats had taken the lead back, and they would hold onto that lead until the end of the game. MBU shot a suboptimal 3-16 from the floor in the third quarter but connected 10 of 12 from the charity stripe. Going into the final act, the Sabercats had a one-point lead and Johnson was sitting on 20 points. The game was on a knife edge.

The edge became duller and duller as the fourth quarter progressed, and when Johnson put up a three-pointer to give Maranatha a 12-point lead, the game seemed to be wrapped up.

But Silver Lake's first-half resilience got its second wind, and the Lakers pressed late on in search of regaining the lead. An 11-1 Silver Lake run made it a two-point game with three minutes left, and the drama unfolded, the game needed to be won from the line. Up stepped the Sabercats' two new faces - Sydney Luttrull and Jacklyn Simpson - to answer the call. Luttrull connected two shots around the 1:00 mark to extend the lead back to three, and Simpson went a clutch 3/4 inside of the closing minutes. 

With just seconds on the clock, Simpson had a timely steal, drew a foul, and knocked both shots down to put the cherry on top of the Sabercats' first win over Silver Lake in over 30 years.

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MBU Starters: 3-Morrison, 5-Luttrull, 12-Johnson, 13-Johnson, 32-Simpson // SLC Starters: 10-Kotche, 14-Kudick, 22-Rumlow, 32-Severin, 34-Boden

  • Johnson - career-high 26 points
  • Simpson - 14 points, 5 rebounds
  • MBU: scored 21 points off of free throws
  • Last year: SLC won both games, 68-66 and 71-56
  • Series: Silver Lake leads the series 25-2

  • Silver Lake competes in the NAIA DII as an independent member
  • The Lakers have posted two wins this season over Association Free Lutheran, who the Sabercats will face next week

The Sabercats will return home on Friday to face Association Free Lutheran at 2:00 p.m. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.

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