East Poinsett County spoiled Buffalo Island Central's New Year's Eve party with a 60-53 victory in the finals of the A-AA-AAA Division of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Friday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
BIC led 11-4 with 1:53 left in the first quarter before EPC's Alicia Ross came off the bench to score six straight points in the last 1:19 of the period, cutting the Lady Mustang lead to 12-10 heading into the second quarter.
Sophomore Brittany Fowler, who led the Lady Mustangs with 22 points, scored the first eight points of the second quarter, giving BIC a 22-15 lead at the 5:11 mark. But the Lady Warriors went on an 11-0 run to take a 26-22 edge with 2:02 to go before intermission. Neither team could score until BIC's Cassidy Qualls nailed a three pointer with seven seconds left to tie the game 26-26 as the two teams headed into the dressing room at the half.
EPC took the lead for good when Shaniqua Monk opened the third period with a three pointer from beyond the top of the key, giving the Lady Warriors a 29-26 advantage. EPC built its lead to 41-33, at the 2:27 mark of the third quarter on a short jumper by senior Keyerah Young, but the Lady Mustangs fought back with a 7-0 run to pull within 41-40, capped off by a pair of free throws from Fowler with 20 seconds left in the period. Terrika Madden hit a pair of foul shots for EPC with 12 seconds left to give the Lady Warriors a 43-40 edge heading into the final frame.
Fowler pulled BIC to within 43-42 on a driving lay-up to open the fourth period, but that was as close as the Lady Mustangs would get. Ross answered with an inside bucket of her own to build the EPC lead back to three and the Lady Warriors closed out the game with deadly free throw shooting down the stretch.
Madden's tenacious defense held Fowler to only six second half points, including just one basket from the field, after the high scoring sophomore had scored 16 points first half points.
Jenna Pike scored eight points, Brittany Stockton netted seven, Kaylee Greathouse tallied six, Cassidy Qualls contributed four while Taylor Owens and Kalee James added three points apiece to round out the Lady Mustang scoring. BIC finished just 14-25 from the foul line but made nine treys on the night, including three by Fowler.
Ross came off the bench to lead EPC with 14 points, including 12 in the first half. Madden and Brittany Ball also hit double digits for the Lady Warriors, scoring 11 points apiece.
Buffalo Island Central advanced to the championship game by rolling over Marked Tree 80-43 in the quarterfinals before dispatching of Marmaduke 57-47 in Wednesday afternoon's semifinals.
The Lady Mustangs placed 10 players in the scoring column, led by Brittany Fowler and Jenna Pike who scored 20 and 17 points respectively in BIC's quarterfinal romp of Marked Tree. The Lady Mustangs jumped to a 16-9 lead after the first period but Marked Tree rallied to pull to within 29-26 at the half. The Lady Mustangs outscored Marked Tree 27-6 in the third quarter to take a commanding 56-32 advantage into the final frame.
Cassidy Qualls scored nine points, Hayley Parker tallied eight, Kaylee Greathouse netted seven, Taylor Owens and Katelyn Sparkman had six points each, Rachel Goldammer contributed three while Jenny Walker and Brittany Stockton pitched in two points apiece. BIC hit 20-24 foul shots and nailed two three pointers.
Alytrius Perry led Marked Tree with 18 points while Quanesia Perry added 11 more to lead the Lady Indians, who hit 11-17 foul shots while making two three pointers.
Brittany Fowler scored 20 points while Jenna Pike added 13 in BIC's 10 point semifinal victory over Marmaduke. The Lady Mustangs held a 16-4 lead after the opening period, but the Lady Greyhounds rallied in the second quarter, outscoring BIC 17-6 to pull to within 22-21 at the half. BIC took a 36-31 edge into the final quarter and hung on for the win.
Hayley Parker and Cassidy Qualls tallied nine points apiece while Kaylee Greathouse pitched in four. Jenny Walker rounded out the BIC attack with two points. The Lady Mustangs connected on eight of 15 free throws and drained five three pointers.
Whitlee Boggs led Marmaduke with 18 points. The Lady Greyhounds hit 14-25 foul shots and made five three pointers.
BIC returns to regular season action Monday, Jan. 3, hosting Rector in 2A-3 conference play. The Lady Mustangs close the week with another home game Thursday night against Maynard at the Mustang Athletic Complex.