Town Crier News Staff
Buffalo Island Central went into last week's 2A-3 District Tournament at Caraway with high hopes of defending last year's tournament championship. But the Crowley's Ridge Academy Falcons quickly burst the Mustang's bubble with a convincing 64-34 semi-final victory Thursday night.
The Mustangs, who finished the regular season as conference runner-up, entered the tournament as the number two seed, and had defeated the Falcons in both regular season meetings. Thursday night's contest was a totally different story as CRA jumped on BIC early en route to the championship round.
CRA broke a 5-5 tie at the 3:27 mark of the opening period and closed the quarter with a 10-2 run behind a pair of three pointers by Alan Williams and Brandon Webb to take a 15-7 lead after the first break.
The Falcons opened the second quarter scoring the first five points to push their lead to 20-7 and held the same 13 point margin, 34-21, as the two teams headed to the dressing room, ending the first half.
CRA, who had blown a big lead earlier in the season against the Mustangs, took no chances this time, putting the game away in the third quarter, outscoring BIC 21-13 to take a 55-32 advantage into the final frame. The Falcons, who hit four three pointers in the opening half, drilled three more in the third quarter, one each by Williams, Webb, and Steven Ramsey. Despite a pair of three pointers by BIC's Shane Barnes, the Mustangs were ice cold most of the night and could do little to stop the Falcon onslaught.
Things didn't get any better in the fourth quarter, as the Mustangs went scoreless and the Falcons built a 30 point lead, invoking the mercy rule. BIC will now turn their attention to this week's regional tournament at Rector where the Mustangs will open play as the number four seed from the 2A-3 Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 against White County.
"We played about as well as we could play tonight," said CRA Coach Al Williams, whose team improved to 20-6 on the year. "We were able to hit our outside shots early, which really opened up our inside game. We were able to handle their pressure tonight which I thought was a big key. We went to the basket against their pressure and got some easy shots. We had lost a couple of leads in the fourth quarter to BIC earlier in the season, so I told the guys tonight we had to keep attacking the basket. That's what made the difference."
The Falcons placed three players in double figures, led by Williams, who scored 18 points. Michael Davis had 17 points while Webb finished with 10. The Falcons shot 6-8 from the foul line and nailed eight treys on the night.
BIC was led by Garrett Qualls and Terry Roach who scored seven points apiece while Jordan Phillips, Nick Birdno and Shane Barnes added six points each. Trevor Matheny added two points for the Mustangs, who hit 7-12 from the foul line and made five three pointers.