Town Crier Sports Staff
Buffalo Island Central opened the 60th annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament with a convincing 82-46 victory over Delaplaine Thursday afternoon at the Convocation Center on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
The Mustangs got off to a fast start, racing to a 25-13 lead in the first quarter behind the play of seniors Terry Roach and Lance Davis, who combined for 16 points of BIC's 25 points. BIC opened up their lead to 49-29 when senior point guard Garrett Qualls stole an errant Indian pass and took the ball coast to coast for a lay-up while being fouled with 58 seconds left before intermission. Qualls converted the free throw to complete the three point play. The Mustangs carried a 49-31 lead into the dressing room at the half.
The Mustangs continued their assault in the third period and finished the quarter up 68-42. The fourth quarter was just a formality, as the Mustangs improved to 11-8 on the season and will advance to Saturday's quarter-finals where they will face the winner of Friday's game between second seeded Izard County Consolidated and former conference foe Maynard.
Davis finished the afternoon with a game high 19 points while Roach and Qualls added 18 and 15 points respectively. Shane Barnes came off the bench and chipped in eight points, Jordan Phillips scored six while Nick Birdno and Trevor Matheny had five points each. Steven Greathouse tallied four points while Tab Wildy contributed two.
BIC opened the week against the Earle Bulldogs in a battle for first place in 2A-3 conference play Tuesday night at the Monette Athletic Complex, but came up on the short end of a thrilling 75-71 decision despite a furious second half rally that fell just short.
Earle seemingly put the game away in the first half as they bolted to a 29-9 first quarter lead before taking a 48-24 advantage into the dressing room at intermission. BIC rallied in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-12 to cut Earle's lead to 60-48 after three periods. The Mustangs continued their remarkable comeback and cut the lead to three, but the Bulldogs hung on to take sole control of first place in league play.
The win gives the Bulldogs an 8-1 conference mark while BIC drops to 7-2 in 2A-3 play.
Terry Roach poured in 22 points while Garrett Qualls pumped in 20 more to lead the Mustangs. Jordan Phillips also hit double digits with 14 points. Lance Davis returned to action after missing several games with an injured foot, scoring eight points. Trevor Matheny netted four while Nick Birdno added three points.
The Mustangs were 19-27 from the foul line and hit four treys on the night.
Eddie Qualls scored 19 points to lead the Bulldogs. Ronnie Davis contributed 14 while Steven Meredith added 12 as the Bulldogs placed three players in double figures. Earle was 14-22 from the charity stripe and nailed seven trays on the night.
In junior high action, BIC pulled out a 48-47 squeaker over the Bulldogs. Cody Smith led all scorers with 19 points to pace the Mustangs. Heath Hawkins also scored in double digits, finishing with 10 points. Matt Taylor netted seven points while Brandon Atkeison and Dalton Womack added six points apiece.
Michael Wilson led Earle with 15 points.
The game was even at 10-10 after the first quarter before Earle pulled ahead to lead 22-20 at halftime. The Bulldogs held a 38-35 lead entering the final quarter before BIC outscored Earle 13-8 in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory.