Buffalo Island Central traveled to Forrest City over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to participate in the prestigious Rumble on the Ridge Tournament at Mustang Gym.
The Mustangs opened tournament play Thanksgiving afternoon with a 72-62 victory over Richwood, La. Brandon Ballard led the Mustangs with 25 points, while grabbing nine rebounds and shooting a perfect 14-14 at the free throw line. Brooks Taylor poured in 22 more points while Josh Nettles nailed six three pointers to finish with 18 points.
The Mustangs trailed 31-24 at the half before outscoring Richwood 27-12 in the third quarter to pull ahead 51-43 entering the final quarter.
"We played our game in the second half," BIC Coach Bill Taylor said. "We really played well," added Taylor, whose team improved to a perfect 12-0 on the season.
Richwood was led by Texas Tech commitment Terry Martin who scored 23 points, while Oklahoma State commitment Kenneth Cooper scored 20.
The Mustangs then faced Bolivar Central of Tennessee in the semi-finals, but dropped their first game of the year, 72-52, despite Taylor and Ballard's combined 44 points. Ballard suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half, but finished the game despite the injury. BIC led 15-13 after the first quarter before Bolivar Central rallied for a 32-26 lead at the half. Bolivar stretched their lead to 53-40 after three quarters on their way to the win.
Bolivar Central had four players in double figures led by Wayne Chism and Brandy Robinson who scored 17 points apiece.
Taylor led BIC with 26 points while Ballard finished with 18.
BIC closed out the tournament without Ballard, who was held out because of the ankle injury suffered in the Bolivar Central game. Ballard's absence proved too much for the Mustangs, as host Forrest City rolled to an 81-53 victory to claim third place in the tournament. Taylor poured in 31 points to lead the Mustangs in scoring.
BIC led 15-8 after the first quarter, and trailed by only two, 28-26, at the half, before Forrest City blew the game open, outscoring BIC 52-27 in the second half to secure the victory.
Sherman Allen led Forrest City with 21 points, while Chris Williams and Marcus Britt finished with 18 and 10 points respectively.
Poplar Bluff, Mo., claimed the championship with a 65-60 win over Bolivar Central.
Scott Ballard, Brandon Ballard's father, said on Sunday his son would visit his doctor Thursday to check on the progress of his injury. The Ballards are hoping for good news as BIC will open play in the KFC/Taco Bell/Hurricane Classic on Thursday at Jonesboro High School.