Mustangs clinch third straight Conference title
Brandon Ballard and Brooks Taylor combined for 56 points as Buffalo Island Central stampeded the Riverside Rebels 70-42 in one of the most lopsided games ever played between the two arch-rivals Tuesday night at Monette.
With the win, the Mustangs clinched their third straight conference championship and stretched their unbeaten league streak to 42 straight games as the Ponies gear up for post season play.
BIC jumped to a 24-11 lead in the first quarter as Rebel post player Zach Ridge, fresh off a double-double in his previous game, was saddled with three early fouls and sat out most of the first half. The Rebels, however, rallied in the second quarter, behind some timely three point shooting from M.J. Emery and Jordan Adcock to close the gap to 38-30 by halftime.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, that is as close as they would get, as BIC outscored Riverside 23-7 in the third quarter to blow the game wide open. The Rebels shot a miserable 2-24 in the second half, while the Mustangs seemingly hit from everywhere on the floor.
Ballard finished the night with a game high 33 points, while Taylor added 23 more. Derek Rolland scored six points, Hunter Smith netted three, Josh Nettles and Lance Davis scored two points each, while Terry Roach came off the bench to add one as the Mustangs improved to 30-3 overall and 12-0 in conference play. The victory was also the Mustangs' 42nd straight home victory.
Riverside (17-8, 7-4 3AA-North) was led by Adcock who posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Zac Reynolds, who scored the Rebels' first six points, finished with 11 points while Emery added six more. Cody Rea scored three, Tyler Timms and Brandon Davis netted two points each, while Ridge and Caleb McCluskey added one apiece to round out the Rebel scoring. Despite the loss, the Rebels still hold a 29-24 all-time lead in the series between the two bitter rivals.
Riverside, which was out-rebounded 30-25, hit 13-21 free throws and made five three pointers on the night, while the Mustangs were 13-17 from the charity stripe and nailed 11 treys on the night.
"I would like to apologize to our fans," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We ought to take up a collection and give them their money back. That is as an embarrassing loss from a good team as I have ever had. There is no excuse for this, and I am not taking anything away from BIC. They are a great team. We will be a better team Friday night. This is not acceptable. BIC just exploded on us and we shot 14 three's in the second half. That is not our game, that is BIC's game. We did not go inside like we should have. They (BIC) outplayed us. We acted like we didn't know where we were. I apologize. I did a poor job of getting us prepared for the second half. I thought we laid down in the second half. But I promise you, that will be rectified."
"We were fortunate tonight that Riverside wasn't hitting their perimeter shots like they usually do," said BIC Coach Bill Taylor. "I thought they had a lot of open looks, but fortunately they weren't hitting them, especially in the second half. We played better defense in the third quarter, but a lot of that had to do with their (Riverside's) cold shooting."
"Our two big players had big nights. I thought Brandon (Ballard) was terrific and I thought Brooks (Taylor) played excellent. They found each other and got their teammates involved. We were playing at home for the conference championship and anytime you beat a really good team like Riverside it's a big win. I thought it was big when Ridge (Zach) got in foul trouble. He is a dynamite player and when he went out I thought it made Riverside more one dimensional. I thought that let us concentrate more on Zac Reynolds. He's such an explosive player and Ridge being out really hampered Reynolds' output tonight. I thought Jordan Adcock showed again that he is the best sophomore in the conference. We are thrilled we clinched the conference championship tonight, and it's our third straight, which is very hard to do in this league. We had better appreciate a run like this because it won't stay this way forever," concluded Taylor.
In junior high action, Riverside avenged their only conference loss in the last two years. Earlier in the year BIC pulled off the upset at Caraway against the Junior Rebels, but this time Riverside would not be denied as they crushed the Junior Ponies 57-34.
Riverside jumped to a 12-4 first period lead, only to see the Mustangs close to within 24-22 at the half. The Rebels used a 18-4 third quarter to take a 42-26 lead into the final frame.
The Rebels, now 20-2 overall and 11-1 in league play, were led by Glen Graham and Garrett Weaver, who both scored 20 points. Travis Mays scored seven, Cody Richardson netted six, while Bradley Tucker and Justin Kellems added two points each. Riverside was 3-4 from the free throw line and nailed six treys.
BIC was led by Jordan Griggs who scored 13 points. Shane Barnes and Trevor Matheny added nine points apiece. Steven Greathouse added two while Zach Corter chipped in one to round out the Mustang scoring. BIC was 8-11 from the charity stripe and hit four three pointers on the night.
BIC will return to action Tuesday night as they play host to Rector at Monette.