Turner's second half scoring barrage stuns Mustangs in NEA semifinals

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Buffalo Island Central controlled the first three quarters of the Monday night, Dec. 29, semi-final matchup against Turrell in the 62nd annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament in Jonesboro, but Theo Turner and Terrance Selvy set off a fourth quarter explosion as the Rockets blasted past the Mustangs to post a 60-49 come from behind victory.

Mustang Ben Cole (15) goes airborne in NEA Tournament action in Jonesboro.

BIC jumped to a five point lead after the first period and took a 23-13 advantage into the dressing room at intermission behind the scoring of Brandon Atkeison and Kam Ashabranner, who combined for 17 of the Mustang's first half points.

The Mustangs withstood Turner's three point barrage in the third quarter to hang onto a 37-32 lead heading into the final frame. The 5'10" senior knocked down four three pointers during the quarter to help the Rockets cut the 10 point halftime deficit in half.

Turner's back to back treys in the closing seconds of the third period pulled Turrell to within three points before Ben Cole scored on a driving lay-up following a beautiful pass from Ashabranner to give the Mustangs the five point cushion entering the final frame.

BIC's Blake Wheeler lays the ball in for two in NEA Tournament semifinal action against Turrell.

Turrell went on a 9-1 run to open the fourth quarter. The Rockets began the fourth period hitting four free throws before taking the lead on Selvy's 12-foot jumper with 6:49 left in the game. After Ashabranner had tied the game with a free throw at the 6:18 mark, Turner ripped a long trey to give the Rockets the lead for good, 41-38.

Ashabranner hit a 15-footer from the top of the key to close the gap to 41-40, but Selvy answered with a coast to coast lay-up after a steal, pushing the margin to 43-40 at the 4:59 mark. Selvy's three point play with 3:16 left gave Turrell a 48-41 lead. Ashabranner kissed a five-footer off the glass with 2:27 remaining to close the gap to 48-43, but the Mustangs were forced to foul down the stretch as the Rockets sank 12 free throws in the last 2:00 to salt the game away.

"We defended well and played our game in the first half," said BIC coach Dion Hargrove. "But it was a tale of two halves. I thought we played solid defense on Turner, but he just knocked down the shots anyway. We missed a few lay-ups and put backs that could have been due to fatigue, but the bottom line is Turner was just too good tonight. I was proud of our team. We had a good tournament."

Sophomore Kam Ashabranner shoots for two of his 18 points in NEA Tournament semifinal action.

Turner poured in 23 of his game high 25 points in the second half, while Selvy pumped in 21 more to lead the Rockets.

Ashabranner and Atkeison both posted double-doubles for BIC. Ashabranner finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds while Atkeison scored 15 points and added 10 boards. Blake Wheeler scored eight, Ben Cole netted six while Heath Hawkins added two points.

Ashabranner and Wheeler were named to the NEA Tournament team for BIC.

BIC will return to action Tuesday night when they host Marked Tree. The Mustangs will celebrate homecoming Friday night against Cross County.

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