LEACHVILLE -- Brandon Ballard canned two long three pointers to open the game and his BIC Mustangs held off arch rival Riverside 59-43 to wrap up the 3AA North Conference Championship Tuesday night at Leachville.
Ballard led the way for BIC, scoring a game high 26 points to push their record to 25-2 and a perfect 12-0 in league play.
"It was a very physical game," Mustang Coach Bill Taylor said. "Both teams had trouble scoring, but we made enough plays to win," added Taylor.
Taylor felt his team might have had a bit of a hangover from their previous game with Marmaduke, but was quick to add that his team was ready for its arch rivals from across the river.
"We may not have been as sharp as usual, but I give Riverside the credit for that," said Taylor.
The Mustangs only had a 13-11 edge at the end of the first stanza, but stretched the lead to 13 by the half 30-17.
Both teams played even in the third period with BIC still up 13 at 43-30 entering the final quarter.
The Rebels did an excellent job defensively holding high scoring freshman Brooks Taylor scoreless while holding down the high scoring Mustangs well below their norm.
But, in the end, it was a lack of putting the ball in the hold that sealed the Rebel's fate.
"We just didn't shoot well enough," Rebel Coach Buster Campbell said. "Our defense and rebounding was good enough to win, but we are just not sticking in the basket," added Campbell.
"We had 18 turnovers which is way too many against the type competition we play in this league. Many of the turnovers were unforced. We have just got to take better care of the ball," said Campbell.
"I was tickled with our effort. They (BIC) know they didn't have a walk in the park. They (BIC) know we came to play," concluded the Rebel Coach.
The Rebels were led in scoring by Joe Ellis with 13, while Dustin Kelems scored 12 and Zac Reynolds hit for 10. Matt Owens, who averages 16.5 points a game, was held to five as the Mustangs constantly kept a close watch on the 6;2" junior all night. Alex Smith had two to round out the Rebel scoring.
Ballard, who nailed five treys on the night, was aided by Junior Mark Hawkins who had 14. Josh Shepard had eight, Mark Tegans scored five, Josh Nettles had two and Kevin Davis added one.
With the loss, the Rebels fall to 12-14 overall and 5-6 in league p[lay but still have a shot at the third seed in the upcoming District Tournament at Bay.
In the junior high game the Riverside Rebels led most of the game but BIC's Derek Rolland hit two pressure packed free throws with 3.5 seconds left to give the Mustangs a thrilling 38-36 victory. The win keeps BIC's 49 game winning streak intact that began last year and raises their record for this season to a perfect 27-0 overall and 12-0 in league play.
Cord Rose led the Mustangs with 21 points while Rolland added 10. Larry Reed scored six and Hunter Smith had one.
The Rebels, who fall to 17-4 overall and 8-3 in the league, were led by Tyler Timms' 12 points. M.J. Emery had nine, Caleb McCluskey scored seven, while Jordan Adcock and Cody Rea added four each.