Buffalo Island Central could do not wrong while Riverside did little right and the scoreboard told the story as the Mustangs stampeded the Rebels 74-47 in the semi-finals of the 3AA North Conference District Tournament Thursday night at Marmaduke.
The Mustangs came out with both barrels blazing as they ripped five straight three pointers to start the game and had the Rebels down 15-3 almost before Riverside had peeled off their warmup jerseys. Derek Rolland, who has been a thorn in the Rebel's side all season, drained a trey to start the game and put an exclamation point on the first period when he nailed a long three pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Mustangs a 23-7 first quarter lead.
Senior guard Brooks Taylor took control in the second quarter as BIC built their lead to as many as 21 points before finishing with a 39-20 halftime advantage. Taylor scored 11 of the Mustangs 16 second quarter points en rout to a game high 31 points.
The Mustangs scorched the nets for seven three pointers in the first quarter and had nine treys by the half. Meanwhile, the Rebels struggled to get their shots to fall and managed only seven first half field goals.
Riverside managed to play BIC on even terms in the third quarter but couldn't make up any ground as BIC drilled three more treys and went into the final frame with a 52-33 lead. The fourth period was just a formality as the Mustangs, who had lost to the Rebels in the NEA Tournament, picked up their third straight win over Riverside and advanced to the championship game opposite second seeded Maynard.
"We couldn't shoot it any better than we did the first of the game," said BIC Coach Bill Taylor. "We had different people making shots, which was the main thing. I thought we came out ready to play and really defended well. We went after the ones we feared the most, and as usual Cord Rose and Derek Rolland did a great job defensively. We made 13 three pointers. That may be a bit of fool's gold. We're not that good of a three point shooting team. We did a pretty good job of taking what Riverside gave us."
The Mustangs finished 13-31 from beyond the three point arc and shot 20-48 from the field on the night. Most of their misses came in the fourth quarter when the game became ragged. BIC shot 19-23 from the foul line, including a 15-19 foul shooting performance from Taylor.
Rolland finished the night with 12 points, all on three pointers, while Hunter Smith and Cord Rose scored nine points apiece by combining to hit six treys. Garrett Qualls came off the bench to score seven points while Eric Wallace and Jordan Phillips added two points each.
"I am very happy with the win and a chance to win our seventh straight District Tournament Championship," commented Taylor.
"BIC played lights out," said Riverside Coach Buster Campbell. "We just didn't do things right tonight. We can talk all night about what they did right and about what we did wrong. We let four different guys hit a three in the first few minutes and we never did get a hand in their face. We did a poor job of adjusting. It was just one of those games. I am very disappointed. I thought it would be a good, close game. They just gave us a butt kicking."
Campbell, who drew his first technical of the year, explained what happened when the Rebels picked up three technical fouls midway through the fourth period. "On the technical, I am going to defend my kids," said Campbell. "If they are going to call a technical on one of my players, why not call one on one of theirs (BIC's)? He gave me one for asking why Cody (Richardson) had picked up a technical. If I think my kids are getting ripped, that's my job to defend them. I just think the referee lost his temper. I almost made it through the whole year without getting a technical."
Glen Graham posted a double-double for Riverside, scoring 10 points while grabbing 11 rebounds. Michael Lawrence and Cody Richardson came off the bench to score nine and eight points respectively. Garrett Weaver finished with six first half points but was shut out in the second half while Jordan Adcock and Tyler Timms were limited to five points each. M.J. Emery added two points before fouling out.
Riverside was 14-35 from the field and managed to hit only 3-12 three point attempts. The Rebels shot a miserable 16-32 from the foul line. Riverside will head into this week's Region 4 Tournament as the 3AA North Conference's number three seed and will face second seeded Turrell from the 3AA South in a 5:30 Thursday afternoon match-up.
Riverside and BIC will be on the same side of the tournament bracket and would face each other for the fifth time this season with a trip to the State Tournament on the line if both teams win their first round games.