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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
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Winter sports finish with mixed success

Upsets and new records highlight

The start of the Crossroads League Tournament had no lack of excitement seeing an overtime matchup with the Taylor men’s basketball team upsetting crosstown rival Indiana Wesleyan, 78-74. 

Jason Hubbard put on an electric performance tallying a double double with 24 points and 16 boards.

Anton Webb was the second leading scorer scoring for the Trojans with 17 points, six coming from the free throw line. Webb and Hubbard combined for 11 of 14 on free throws. Webb’s free throws proved to be critical because 6 of the attempts were made in overtime and finished with 8 of the ten of Taylor’s points in overtime.

The semifinal matchup was a back and forth affair seeing a total of 18 lead changes. At the end of regulation, the game was knotted at 68. 

This win is the first time since 2012 that Taylor has defeated the Wildcats.

The Trojans were hoping to keep riding and capitalize on the momentum from the quarter final going into a semifinal matchup with Huntington. 

The odds of getting back to back thrillers in a tournament are slim but were somehow beaten.

During the second half, the Foresters gained an 11 point lead but the Trojans came back and almost pulled off another upset but the last buzzer sounded at 73-70.

Senior Jason Hubbard etched his name into the single season scoring record at Taylor with a 24 point effort, finishing with 709 points this season and 2,479 points scored in his collegiate career.

The Trojans crashed the boards finishing with 12 more than Hunington.

Turnovers proved Taylor costly especially in the 1st half turning the ball over nine times and finishing with a total of 15 on the night.

In their third year of competing, the Taylor cheer team took home third place in the Crossroads League Championships.

Rapid improvement has been happening in the past three years. The first year in existence they had to go into quarantine on their way to the tournament. In the second year and first in competing they posted a score of 72.01. This year, the Trojans saw a large increase in their score, placing third out of seven with a score of 86.12 which is a new program record.

Senior J. Michael Pierce II added to his resume by taking home his second all conference award. 

With two graduating seniors in Pierce and Reagan Smith, their performance, leadership, and presence will surely be missed but the cheer squad has a bright and promising future ahead of them with a plethora of juniors and underclassmen.

Coming off of a four game losing streak into the Crossroads League Tournament, the Taylor women's basketball team were matched up with a tall task playing the (21-9) Grace Lancers in Winona Lake, Ind.

Taylor met Grace twice during the regular season and went 0-2 in those games.

Offensive efficiency was lacking and it proved to be one of the big reasons why the Trojans came up short. Only 16 of the 65 field goal attempts were converted and shot 61% from the free throw line. Making three’s was an issue only getting three of 22 attempts to fall.

Fouls plagued the Trojans racking up 26 personal fouls which allowed Grace to have 30 shots at the line.

Junior forward Taylor Westgate came a single board away from notching a double double with 14 points in 39 minutes of play. 

The game was fairly close through the first three quarters with the Trojans coming within four points but the fourth quarter was when the Lancers stepped on the gas and built their lead. 

“Once we missed so many good shots in the fourth quarter, you can see the confidence in the team was gone,” Taylor women’s basketball head coach Jody Martinez said. “Grace hit some key shots in the fourth quarter and the momentum shifted in a negative way.”