The Buffalo Island Central Lady Mustangs avenged their only conference loss of the year Thursday night with a 66-53 victory over Maynard at the Mustang Athletic Complex. The Tigers had defeated BIC earlier in the year at Maynard, but it was a different story this time, as freshman sensation Jessica Shepard poured in a season high 31 points and the Lady Mustangs held on to first place in the 3AA North Conference by a half game over Bay.
Maynard jumped to a 16-13 first period lead behind Maggie Bray, who led the Lady Tigers with 19 points. BIC rallied at the end of the second period to take a 34-31 lead into the dressing room at the half.
In the second half, Shepard took the game over as she scored at will, leading four Lady Mustangs in double figures. BIC stretched their three point halftime advantage to 50-36 after three quarters and then coasted the rest of the way to earn the victory.
Other BIC players in double figures included Nan Lee Bridges, who scored 12 points, including 10-12 from the free throw line, while Stephanie Baldridge also had 12 points, all on three pointers. Kasey Garrett rounded out the BIC scoring with 11 points.
BIC's victory was aided with an excellent performance from the charity stripe, as the Lady Mustangs shot a whopping 40 free throws, connecting on 27. BIC also nailed seven treys on the night.
Maynard hit 9-17 free throws but managed only two three pointers on the evening.
"We played very well after the first third of the game,"BIC Coach Mike Kinard said. "We talked all week about how Maynard could hurt us with their dribble penetration in the lane, and they did exactly that early on. Luckily, we got much better defensively after the first third of the game. We only have eight players, and we need them all. Jessica (Shepard) is just Jessica. We depend on her for scoring and defense. Nan Lee (Bridges), we lean on her so much defensively. I thought Ashley Tate was incredible on the boards tonight, and Kasey Garrett shot her free throws much better. When we were struggling early, Stephanie Baldridge hit some big threes. We needed everything we got from everybody. We have a big game coming up Monday night against Bay here at home. We beat them earlier in the year by nine points at their place, so we know they will come ready to play. But we are going to play to win also," concluded Kinard.
"We just didn't make our shots," Maynard Coach Shawn Glenn said. "We didn't get to the free throw line enough. Maggie Bray kept us in the game in the first half, but she kind of shut down in the second half. But overall, I thought we gave a good effort. They (BIC) are a good team and they were out to get us after we had beaten them earlier in the year. We opened up a seven point lead in the first quarter but didn't finish well and didn't take good shots when we needed to. But BIC played hard. You have to give it to them, they came to win tonight," Glenn concluded.
With the victory, the Mustangs improved to 19-4 overall and 10-1 in league play. Maynard dropped to 9-8 overall and 5-5 in 3AA North Conference action.
In junior high action, Maynard rolled to a 52-32 victory over the Lady Mustangs as the Lady Tigers placed three players in double figures, led by Magan Flannigan's game high 18 points. Jessica Barber and Courtney Cagle added 14 points apiece for Maynard.
BIC was led by Lauryn Smith who scored 16 points. Chelsie Nix scored six points while Breanna Cole and Corie Flannigan netted four points each. Shelby Qualls rounded out the BIC scoring with two points.
Maynard led 12-7 after the first quarter, 25-17 at the half, and 40-26 after three periods of play.
BIC will meet Bay in a showdown for first place Monday night at Monette before hosting arch-rival Riverside Thursday night also at the Mustang Athletic Compex in Monette.