Cassidy Qualls' three pointer at the buzzer lifted Buffalo Island Central to a thrilling 46-43 victory over host Marked Tree Saturday afternoon in the 2A-3 Junior High District Tournament finals.
(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
A free throw brought the Lady Indians to within a basket with just over a minute left, 43-41, before Alytrius Perry came up with a huge steal, drove the length of the floor and laid in the tying basket off the glass with 46 seconds to go.
A Mustang turnover gave the ball back to the Lady Indians, who called time-out with 34 seconds left to set up for the last shot. Marked Tree held the ball coming out of the break in hopes of one last shot to win the game, but Perry was called for a five-second violation with nine seconds left, giving the ball back to the Lady Mustangs.
BIC worked the ball around looking for the final shot. Kaylee Greathouse found Qualls at the top of the key, and the freshman launched the game winning bucket just as the buzzer sounded, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net, sending the Mustang faithful into hysteria.
"Our girls just figured out a way to win," said Mustang coach Stan Fowler. "Marked Tree is a tough defensive ball team. I am proud of our decision making on that last play. This is back to back district championships for us. This freshman team finished with a 76-10 record during their junior high careers. I am very, very proud of them."
The Lady Mustangs started the game with a 7-0 run and led 17-7 after the first break. Perry, who led all scorers with 29 points, kept the Lady Indians in the game as Marked Tree closed the half, pulling to within 21-18. BIC held its lead in the third quarter, building a 29-21 advantage late in the period. A three pointer by Greathouse built BIC's lead to 32-23 with 1:25 to go in the quarter. Perry hit back to back bucket to close out the third quarter, pulling the Lady Indians to within 32-27 entering the final period of play.
Perry began the fourth quarter nailing a three pointer from the top of the key to close the gap to 32-30, but Brittany Stockton completed a conventional three point play to boost the BIC lead back to five, 35-30, at the 4:57 mark.
Stockton, who led the Lady Mustangs with 19 points while pulling down 15 rebounds, was the difference in the game, according to Fowler. "I thought Brittany was the difference in the game. She controlled the boards and came up with several big offensive rebounds."
Qualls finished with nine points while Sparkman scored seven. Greathouse chipped in six, Owens tallied four while Rachel Goldhammer added one. BIC hit just five of 13 free throws, but drained two three pointers.
Perry, who led the Lady Indians, drilled three treys on the night. Marked Tree connected on 12-17 foul shots and made four three pointers on the night.
The Lady Mustangs advanced to the finals with a 39-18 victory over East Poinsett County Friday night. Taylor Owens recorded a double-double, scoring 15 points while grabbing 10 rebounds to lead BIC. Kaylee Greathouse also hit double digits, scoring 11. Brittany Stockton netted six, Rachel Goldhammer scored three, Shania Junyor netted two while Cassidy Qualls and Katelyn Sparkman added one point apiece.