Town Crier Sports Staff
Buffalo Island Central trailed virtually the entire game against Turrell Tuesday night, but put on a frantic fourth quarter rally to post a thrilling 57-54 victory over the Rockets that clinched a spot in the regional tournament for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs, who were celebrating senior night, watched Turrell take a 15-14 lead after the first quarter and a 26-21 lead into the dressing room at the half. Turrell kept the lead throughout the third quarter before Garrett Qualls ripped a three pointer to give BIC a brief 36-35 lead with 1:14 left in the period. Milton Moore's bucket at the 52 second mark gave Turrell a 37-36 lead entering the final frame.
Detrick Brown opened the fourth quarter with a 12-footer and Moore followed up with an offensive stick back to give Turrell a 41-36 lead with 6:21 left.
Jordan Phillips and Terry Roach scored buckets for the Mustangs, but the Rockets countered with a pair of free throws each by Brown and Terrance Selvy, leaving Turrell with a 45-41 lead. But with 4:54 remaining, BIC senior Nick Birdno drained a three pointer from the left corner to cut the Rocket lead to one. A steal by Qualls led to a lay-up by senior Terry Roach, giving BIC a 46-45 lead at the 4:44 mark. Turrell's Bruce Delaney tied the score at 46-46 when he hit 1-2 free throws, but Phillips put BIC back up by two with a driving lay-up, 48-46.
Turrell's Travis Postell tied the score for the last time at 48-48 with a pull up jumper at the 2:25 mark before Qualls put the Mustangs up for good, 50-48, by sinking a pair of free throws with 2:20 left. Qualls followed his free throws with a driving bucket to push the BIC lead to 52-48 at the 2:12 mark.
The BIC lead remained at four until Turrell's Eric Gibson nailed a 17-footer with 15 seconds left to pull the Rockets to within 56-54. BIC was able to run the clock down to two seconds before Qualls was fouled. The 6'1" senior hit 1 -2 free throws and Turrell was unable to get off a last second shot as the Mustangs hung on to wrap up the second seed in the upcoming 2A-3 District Tournament.
"We played awful, but we found a way to win," said BIC Coach Bill Taylor. "It's not the way you want your seniors to play their last game at home, especially the way we shot the ball going 3-19 on three pointers. We were 19-53 from the floor, 26 percent, and that is just awful. But we only turned it over six times and we forced a lot of turnovers. We probably came out wanting it too bad and put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We just never loosened up. But it was an enormous game. There was a lot of pressure on us. It was very important for us to win and sew up that regional spot. If we had lost, we might have slipped all the way to the four hole, which would have forced us to have to win two games to advance out of the district tournament."
Terry Roach led BIC with 20 points while Jordan Phillips scored 16 and Garrett Qualls finished with 11. Lance Davis had five, Nick Birdno scored three while Shane Barnes added two. The Mustangs finished 14-21 from the free throw line and hit three treys.
Detrick Brown paced Turrell with 13 points while Travis Postell and Milton Moore added 12 and 10 points respectively. The Rockets were 8-16 from the foul line and hit two three pointers.
BIC closed out the conference season by stunning league champion Earle 52-51 Saturday night at Earle. Lance Davis tipped in a missed shot with 6.9 seconds to go to give the Mustangs the victory.
BIC (18-11, 12-4) was led by Garrett Qualls and Jordan Phillips who scored 14 points apiece. Terry Roach had 13 points while Davis added eight.
Eddie Qualls led the Bulldogs with 12 points. Earle led 21-13 after the first quarter, 30-25 at the half, and took a 39-38 lead into the final frame.
In junior high action, Turrell slipped past BIC 55-51 on Tuesday night. The Mustangs dropped a 58-31 decision Saturday night at Earle.
Cody Smith scored 26 points in the loss to Turrell. Brandon Atkeison and Ben Cole had seven points apiece. Heath Hawkins tallied six, Matt Taylor netted three, while Josh Freeman added two. The Mustangs hit 7-11 from the foul line and hit six three pointers.
DeMarcus Woods led Turrell with 16 points while Jessie Hodges and Warren Boyd added 15 and 10 points respectively. Turrell led 20-3 after the first quarter, 30-16 at the half, and 40-39 after three quarters.
The Senior Mustangs will close out the regular season Tuesday night when they travel to Gosnell.
The Junior Mustangs will participate in the Junior High District Tournament this week at Monette.