Town Crier Sports Staff
Buffalo Island Central drilled 12-14 free throws in the final quarter, breaking open a tight game, as the Lady Mustangs advanced to the finals of the 2A-North Regional Tournament with a 57-46 victory over arch-rival Riverside Friday night at Cross County.
The Lady Rebels charged to an 18-11 first period lead behind the inside scoring of junior Katey Campbell, who continually punctured the interior of the Lady Mustang defense throughout the opening period, scoring 14 points.
BIC rallied in the second quarter and cut the lead to one, 22-21, on a pair of Jessica Shepard free throws with 6.7 seconds to go before intermission. But Riverside's Morgan Emery raced the length of the court and threw in a five foot runner just before the halftime buzzer to give the Lady Rebels a 24-21 advantage.
BIC finally took the lead early in the third quarter, 25-24, with a Shepard lay-up at the 7:11 mark. The Lady Mustangs stretched their advantage to five points before Riverside charged back to take a 33-31 lead on a three pointer by senior Kelsey Turner with 1:35 to go in the third period. Shepard tied the score with an inside bucket at the 1:21 mark, and gave BIC the lead, 35-33, with a 10-footer just before the end of the third stanza.
With the score tied 35-35, BIC struck from beyond the three point arc when Lauryn Smith and Shepard drilled back to back treys, giving the Lady Mustangs a 41-35 lead with 6:04 left in the game. BIC stretched their margin to 10 points when Sammi Fowler blocked a Rebel attempt and Shepard took the loose ball, racing in for a lay-up to put BIC up 45-35 with 5:20 remaining.
Riverside made one last rally to pull within four, 46-42, but that was as close as the Lady Rebels would get.
Shepard led BIC with 27 points while Smith and Fowler also hit double digits with 13 and 11 points respectively. The Lady Mustangs, who hit 20-25 from the charity stripe, also got two points apiece from Chelsie Nix, Corie Flannigan and Haley Smith.
Riverside was led by Campbell's 22 points while Brianna Driver added 11 more. Emery and Holly Dudley scored five points apiece while Turner added three. Riverside sank
14-16 foul shots and made two three pointers.
BIC punched their ticket to the state tournament with a hard fought 49-41 victory over Cedar Ridge in first round action Thursday afternoon.
Jessica Shepard poured in a game high 27 points while Sammi Fowler added 12 more to lead the Lady Mustang offensive attack. Lauryn Smith, Chelsie Nix, Jordon Miller, Haley Smith and Holly Dempsey all added two points apiece. BIC was 9-12 from the free throw line and made two three pointers.
Kristen Webb and Chelsey Ballard led the Lady Timberwolves with 10 points apiece.
Cedar Ridge was 16-25 from the foul line and made one trey.
The score was tied, 14-14, after the first period before BIC took a 29-25 lead into the dressing room at the half. The Lady Mustangs led 32-29 after three quarters.