(Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)
Manila gave Buffalo Island Central all it wanted despite the absence of leading scorer Kimberly Wise, but in the end the Lady Mustangs prevailed with a hard fought 70-65 victory Monday night at Manila.
BIC won the first meeting between these two rivals without much trouble earlier in the season, but the Lady Lions proved much tougher in the rematch.
Manila took a 16-14 lead after a see saw first quarter that saw five lead changes.
Sammi Fowler started the second stanza with a three pointer to put the Lady Mustangs up 17-16, but back to back buckets by Manila's Kristen Painter and Rebekah White gave the Lions the lead 20-17. After a Fowler bucket the Lady Lions' Colleen Kemp drilled a trey to put Manila up 23-19 at the 4:49 mark.
BIC fought back and took the lead for good on a three pointer by Jessica Shepard who led all scorers with 25 points. Shepard's trey at the 2:28 mark gave BIC a 26-25 edge and they never trailed again although the game remained in doubt the rest of the way.
Manila's Heather Dozhier hit a three with 14 seconds left in the half, after BIC had taken a four point lead, to cut the Mustangs advantage to 32-31 but Lauryn Smith's lay up at the buzzer gave the Lady Mustangs a 34-31 lead at intermission.
The second half was close throughout as BIC's lead ranged from three to six points most of the half.
The Lady Lions Michelle Daniels drew the hot hand in the third quarter, scoring 12 of her team high 23 points to keep Manila close.
But Shepard and Fowler teamed to keep the Lady Mustangs at arms length with key buckets when BIC needed them the most to maintain the lead.
BIC took a 51-46 edge into the final quarter and never let Manila get closer than three points the rest of the game.
Kemp's free throw at the 3:06 mark pulled Manila to within 62-59 but Shepard pulled off the play of the night driving down the center of the lane, scoring, and drawing a foul. Shepard's subsequent free throw completed the three point play and gave the Lady Mustangs a 65-59 cushion with just 2:21 to play.
A pair of Daniels free throws with 27 seconds to go gave Manila hope closing the gap to 66-63 but Fowler iced the game for BIC by connecting on both ends of a one and one with 26 seconds left to put the Mustangs up 68-63.
Fowler joined Shepard in double figures for BIC scoring 19 points while Chelsea Nix added 10 more. Jordan Miller had eight; Smith netted six, while Holly Dempsey added two. BIC hit 13-17 at the line and made two threes.
Daniels scored 21 of her 23 points in the second half to lead Manila while Kemp scored 14 and White had 13 more. Kelce Misner netted five; Dozhier tallied three, while Jonna Dodd, Savannah Jones, and Kristen Painter all had two points each. Katie Donner added one point. Manila hit 16-26 from the charity stripe. Manila had six treys including four by Daniels.
"The way we battled tonight without Kimberly Wise is a testament to this team's desire," said Manila Coach Jeff Priest. " We got to trading baskets with BIC and that hurt us. Daniels came out of nowhere and started hitting threes and kept us in the game. We did a decent job on offense but they just hit more shots then we did. You have to give credit to our kids for not quitting but you have to credit Coach Fowler and his team. They made the plays down the stretch when they had to. They have two all-state players in Shepard and Fowler who did what it took for them to win. But I am very proud of my kids."
"Manila is a good team," said BIC Coach Stan Fowler. "Their shooting was much better than in the first game we played them. Our free throws down the stretch came through when we needed them. Jessica and Sammi came through as always and Chelsea Nix had a good game. This was a good game between two evenly matched teams."
In junior high action BIC came away with a 46-26 win. Brittany Fowler led the Mustangs with seven points while Jenna Pike, Demi Hargrove, and Cassidy Qualls had six points apiece. Taylor Owens tallied five, Amber Rolland had four, Haley Parker and Kaylee Greathouse netted three each, while Jenny Walker, Jacey Sneed, and E. Owens had two points apiece.
Manila was led by Peyton Joyner with 14 points. Taylor Craig and Brittany Craine had four each. Jordan Robertson scored two while Kristen Wise and Brianna Stone added one point each.