Lady Mustangs take conference win
BY TRENT FLETCHER
Town Crier Sports Staff
Monday night's showdown between Riverside and Buffalo Island Central came down to free throws. In the end, it was the Lady Mustangs who made the most of their opportunities, singing 14-14 in the fourth quarter as BIC outscored Riverside 26-12 for a come from behind 63-52 victory in 2A-3 Conference action at Monette.
The Lady Rebels led most of the game and carried a 40-37 lead into the final quarter, but Jessica Shepard, who led all scorers with 23 points, tied the game with a three pointer to begin the fourth quarter. Shepard gave BIC the lead for good, hitting both ends of the one and one at the 6:35 mark to put the lady Mustangs up 42-40.
Sammi Fowler added a pair of free throws to give BIC a 44-40 lead before Lauryn Smith, who scored 20 second half points, connected on back to back 12-footers, giving BIC a 48-41 lead with 4:29 to go in the game.
Riverside's Brianna Driver completed a three point play with 4:17 left to cut the BIC margin to 48-44, but Smith struck again with a long three pointer out of the left corner to build the Lady Mustang lead back to seven, 51-44, with 4:00 remaining.
BIC closed out the game with 10 straight free throws wrapped around another basket by Smith to close out the win as the Lady Mustangs improved to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in league play.
The Lady Rebels took a 13-6 first period lead behind the hot outside shooting of Kelsey Turner. Turner opened the second period with back to back treys, but Fowler answered with a pair of two pointers and three pointer of her own to cut the lead to 19-13 with 4:29 left in the half. A three pointer by Shepard followed by a short jumper from Fowler shaved the Rebel lead to 19-18 at the 2:33 mark.
Katey Campbell hit a free throw and made an inside bucket to give Riverside a 22-18 edge, but BIC scored the last four points of the half to tie the game 22-22 at intermission.
Riverside used the inside scoring of Campbell in the third quarter to build an eight point advantage, 38-30, but BIC rallied to cut the margin to 40-37 when Smith drilled her third three pointer of the period with 15 seconds left.
"For three quarters, Riverside did an excellent job and played a very impressive game," BIC Coach Stan Fowler said. "But in the fourth quarter, Lauryn Smith got into a rhythm and Riverside just stood there and let her shoot and we were able to pull it out. We shot 20 of 21 at the free throw line and that is very good. I thought our free throw shooting, along with Smith's shooting, was the difference in the game. This was a huge win for us because Riverside has an excellent team."
"I thought free throws were the difference," Riverside coach Greg Rainwater said. "We talked about running at Lauryn Smith to keep her from shooting, but we just didn't do a very good job of it and she really hurt us. But I was proud of our girls. I thought we played pretty well for the most part. I thought until the fourth quarter Kassie Douglas did am excellent job on the best player in the league, Jessica Shepard, who got most of her points from the foul line. You have to give BIC a lot of credit. They are a good ball team and have a lot of heart."
Shepard led BIC with 23 points while Smith added 20. Fowler finished with 15 points. BIC hit 20-21 from the foul line and made eight treys.
Riverside made 13-26 free throws and hit only 4-12 in the final period. The Lady Rebels drop to 5-4 overall and 2-1 in league play.
In Junior High action, BIC outlasted Riverside 43-36. Brittany Fowler led BIC with 13 points while Taylor Owens chipped in 12. Demi Hargrove and Kalee James scored six points apiece, Jenna Pike netted five while Jenny Walker added two. The Lady Mustangs hit 5-11 free throws and made two three pointers.
Riverside was led by Taylor Boness who scored 18 points. Lauren Weaver tallied six points, Kyley Campbell netted five, Rebbekah Frayer scored four while Kaleigh Wilson added three. Riverside finished 13-25 from the foul line and hit one three pointer.
BIC will play host to Crowley's Ridge Academy Monday night at Monette before traveling to Cross County Friday night.