Junior Lady Greyhounds squeak past BIC to capture District Championship
Buffalo Island Central and Marmaduke squared off one last time in the finals of the 2A-3 Junior Girls District Basketball Tournament Saturday night at Monette. The two teams, meeting for the fifth time this season, battled on even terms throughout the entire game before the Lady Greyhounds finally took home the championship when Abby Meredith sank a pair of free throws with three seconds left to give Marmaduke a 31-28 victory.
The Lady Mustangs had one last opportunity, but Blaire Wildy's desperation heave from beyond the three point arc missed the mark, as the Lady Greyhounds celebrated the championship.
Marmaduke took an 11-9 lead after the first quarter, thanks to the scoring of Brittany Banning, who pitched in nine of her team leading 14 points in the opening stanza. Marmaduke maintained a slim lead throughout the second quarter, but the Lady Mustangs kept the game close behind a stifling defensive effort that limited the usually high scoring Meredith to just four points on the night. Marmaduke clung to an 18-16 halftime advantage.
BIC stormed out of the gates in the third quarter behind Wildy, who scored back to back buckets to give the Lady Mustangs a 20-18 lead. Seventh grader Heather Sipes hit a pair of free throws to put BIC up by four before Brianna Hood's lay-up cut the Mustang lead to 22-20. The two teams traded baskets to end the quarter with the Lady Mustangs holding a slim 24-22 lead.
Molly Hart gave BIC a 25-24 edge early in the fourth quarter after Marmaduke opened the period with a basket to tie the game. Wildy scored on the inside to put the Lady Mustangs up three at the 4:23 mark, but Jordan Mays answered with a three pointer for the Lady 'Hounds to tie the game 27-27 with 4:01 to go. Banning's driving lay-up at the 1:55 mark put Marmaduke ahead for good, 29-27.
After a Mustang miss, Marmaduke went into their four corners offense, forcing the Lady Mustangs to foul. The Lady Mustangs had committed just one team foul to that point, and before BIC could send the Lady 'Hounds to the free throw line, 25 precious seconds ticked off the clock. The Lady Mustangs were finally charged with their seventh team foul at the 49 second mark, sending Meredith to the line. Meredith missed the front end of the one and one, but BIC could not convert on the offensive end.
A technical foul on Marmaduke Coach Rick Smith with 28 seconds left gave the Lady Mustangs an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Wildy hit the first technical foul shot but her second attempt was off the mark. BIC took the ball out of bounds, but the Lady Greyhounds again came up with a big play, forcing a turnover with 11 seconds left in the game. Forced to foul, BIC sent Meredith to the line where the freshman gave the Greyhounds a three point cushion.
Wildy led the Lady Mustangs with a game high 16 points. Sipes scored four while Ashley Field, Kayla Griffin and Nikki Gordon all added two points apiece. Hart and Jona Carmichael added one point apiece.
"We had a game plan and that was to slow down Abby Meredith, who is one of the best players in the league," said BIC Coach Stan Fowler. "We rotated Heather Sipes, Molly Hart and Curston Davis, and I thought they did a great job holding her to four points. I was so proud of our girls tonight. The first time we played them this year they beat us 37-17, and we had trouble with their press. But tonight we handled the ball really well, and you could just see how much we have improved since early in the year. They showed what hard work and being good kids can do. Our record is 23-5, and four of those losses were to Marmaduke. I couldn't be more proud of the way our girls played. You want to walk away with the win, but I couldn't ask any more than I got from the kids tonight."
"It's always a war with BIC," said Marmaduke Coach Rick Smith. "They are a very good team. I knew it would be a tough game tonight because the game was on their floor. I told the girls they would have to take it to them in the end, and that's what we were able to do tonight. We were able to force some turnovers in the fourth quarter and I really thought despite not playing well early, we were able to hang in there thanks mainly to Brittany Banning who kept us in the game in the first quarter. Jordan Mays hit a big three for us tonight in the fourth quarter and Abby Meredith hit two huge free throws at the end of the game. I am really proud of the girls."
Marmaduke finishes the season with a 27-3 record.
BIC began the tournament with a hard fought 30-29 victory over East Poinsett County Tuesday night. Wildy led the Lady Mustangs with nine points while Field chipped in eight. Griffin and Hart scored three points apiece while Gordon, Mollie Couch and Curston Davis all added two points each. Jonna Carmichael chipped in one point.
Bailey Constance led EPC with 10 points.
Blaire Wildy, Ashley Field and Kayla Griffin were all named to the 2A-3 All-Conference team for BIC, while Marmaduke placed four players on the squad, including Meredith, Banning, Mays and Hood.