Buffalo Island Central used a ferocious half-court trapping defense to cause numerous Riverside turnovers as the Lady Mustangs made like thieves in the night en route to a 62-46 stampede over the Lady Rebels Thursday night in 3AA North Conference action at the Mustang Athletic Complex.
With the score tied 6-6, Jessica Shepard picked off an errant Riverside pass and raced the length of the court for an uncontested lay-up to give BIC the lead for good, 8-6, at the 3:12 mark of the first quarter.
Shepard, who scored a game high 27 points, hit a 10-foot jumper to give BIC a 12-8 lead to end the first quarter. The Lady Mustangs stretched their advantage to 23-13 when Ashley Tate connected on another 10-footer with 3:58 left in the half. Riverside then went on a 7-2 run, capped off by Natasha Coffey's three point play with 1:22 left before intermission. However, Shepard drove the lane for two with 10 seconds left in the half, and when Kasey Garrett turned another Rebel miscue into two points, BIC built their lead back to 29-20 at the half.
BIC stretched their lead to 32-20 on a three point play by Shepard to start the third quarter, but watched the Rebels go on an 8-0, cutting the Lady Mustang lead to 32-28 with 5:35 to go in the quarter.
BIC turned up the defensive pressure again as the Lady Mustangs raced to a 43-29 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Riverside made one last attempt to get back into the game, and closed the margin to 46-38 when sophomore guard Kelsey Turner ripped a three pointer with 5:35 left in the game. BIC then turned to Stephanie Baldridge, who nailed three straight treys, building the lead to 54-40 with 3:52 remaining.
Riverside would get no closer as the Lady Mustangs secured the win to push their overall record to 21-6 and their conference mark to 8-1.
"This was our best game of the year," said BIC Coach Mike Kinard. "We just played a solid game from start to finish. I am very proud of the whole team. Everyone had a great game. We were a team tonight. We noticed where people were, and put the ball where it was supposed to go. Defensively, we were as good as I have seen us this year, and if we keep playing like that, the team will have a happy coach. Our pressure really hurt Riverside at times, and got us some easy shots. That was really the difference in the game."
"We didn't play very hard. We didn't come to battle. We spent all night at half court. They trapped us at half court and we pick it up and throw it to them. You are not going to win like that. Even with all that, we get back to within six or eight and think we are going to get back into the game and then we leave Baldridge or Shepard wide open for a three pointer. You can't win against good teams playing like that," said frustrated Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater, whose team fell to 15-6 overall and 5-3 in league play.
Nan Lee Bridges also hit double digits for BIC with 12 points as did Baldridge, who nailed four three pointers on the night. Tate and Lauren Smith contributed four points each while Kasey Garrett added three. BIC finished 11-21 from the foul line and hit seven three pointers on the night.
Marisa Johnson paced the Lady Rebels with 12 points, while Natasha Coffey added 11. Sam Dunigan scored eight points, Emilee Hook had seven, Kelsey Turner netted six, while Kasey Davis pitched in two to round out the Riverside attack. The Lady Rebels shot 8-13 from the foul line and hit two three pointers on the evening.
In the junior high game, Riverside rolled to a 53-24 victory as the Lady Rebels placed 10 players in the scoring column. Briana Driver led the way for the Lady Rebels with 13 points, Anne Marie Johnson scored nine, Morgan Emery and Katey Campbell netted seven each, and Kailey Holt tallied six. Katlin Brewer pitched in four, Michelle Cobb, Magan Wells, and Taylor Boness all scored two and Holly Dudley added one point. Riverside was 7-18 from the foul stripe and hit two three pointers.
BIC was led by Corie Flannigan who scored eight points. Ashley Woods netted four while Shelby Qualls, Ashley Jines, Taylor Owens, Jenna Pike and Brittani Wilson each had two points. Jordan Miller and Nicole Poe chipped in one point apiece. BIC finished 4-6 from the free throw line.
Riverside led 21-4 after the first quarter, 31-12 at the half, and 47-16 after three quarters.
BIC will returned to action Monday night when they traveled to Rector. The Lady Mustangs will go on the road to face Maynard on Thursday night.
Riverside also hit the road, traveling to Bay on Monday night before finishing the week with a trip to Walnut Ridge on Thursday night.