Buffalo Island Central's boys basketball team has experienced lots of success over the years, including three State Championships. Despite a stellar season last year, the Lady Mustangs fell one game short of their bid to reach their first ever State Tournament when they lost to Piggott in last year's Regional semi-finals on the Mustang's own home court. Friday night at Earle, the Lady Mustangs changed all that as they won a heart-stopping 48-43 overtime thriller against Marmaduke, sending BIC to next week's State Tournament at Jessieville.
"The program we have has really been a struggle to build," said BIC Coach Mike Kinard. "This group of young ladies is really special. We are overjoyed to be going to the State Tournament for the first time in school history."
The Lady Mustangs almost saw their dream come to an end after building up what looked to be a comfortable 42-29 lead heading into the fourth period. But the Lady Greyhounds would not go away, as they outscored BIC 13-0 in the final period. Marmaduke's Brooke Smith drilled a three pointer with 4:14 remaining in the game, tying the score at 42-42. After a Lady Mustang turnover, Marmaduke decided to hold the ball and look for an easy basket. BIC played solid defense as the clock continued to win down to the final seconds. Lady Greyhound Jade Brinkley drove to the basket and threw up a running one hander with 10 seconds left, but the shot bounced off the rim. Nan Lee Bridges' desperation shot at the buzzer also went astray, sending the two teams into overtime.
Marmaduke scored first in the overtime period when Lindsey Hickson hit the front end of a one and one at the 2:22 mark to give the Greyhounds a 43-42 lead. Hickson missed the bonus shot, but BIC lost the rebound out of bounds giving the ball back to Marmaduke. Brinkley, as she did at the end of regulation, once again drove to the basket, but had her shot rejected and Lady Mustang Jessica Shepard scored on the other end to put BIC up for good, 44-43. Marmaduke was called for a critical five second violation, giving the ball back to BIC. Marmaduke was then forced to foul Shepard with 8.7 seconds left. The 3AA North Conference MVP calmly sank both ends of the one and one to give BIC a 46-43 advantage.
Marmaduke had one last chance to tie the game and decided to call time out with 4.5 seconds remaining, but were out of time outs, which resulted in a technical foul. Shepard again sank both free throws, putting the game out of reach and sending the Lady Mustangs into the finals against East Poinsett County.
BIC was led by Shepard who scored 16 points, including all six of BIC's overtime points. Kasey Garrett also pitched in 16, including 11 in the first quarter. Bridges finished with 10 points while Lauryn Smith and Ashley Tate added three points apiece. The Lady Mustangs hit 12-14 from the foul line and finished the night with four treys.
Marmaduke was led by Brooke Smith who drilled four three pointers on her way to a game high 20 points. The Lady Greyhounds finished the night 8-12 from the foul line.