EPC survives second half BIC rally to take Junior Boys District Title
Buffalo Island Central rallied from an 11 point halftime deficit to take a three point lead midway through the fourth quarter before East Poinsett County took charge down the stretch to pull out a 45-40 victory over the Mustangs, claiming the 2A-3 Junior Boys District Basketball Tournament Championship Saturday night at the Mustang Athletic Complex in Monette.
The Warriors controlled the first half, leaping to a 15-6 lead after the first quarter. EPC used a balanced scoring attack early as four players got on the board in the opening quarter. The Warriors stretched their lead to 23-12 at the half, as Clay Malone scored seven of the Warrior's eight second period points.
The third quarter was a different story, as the Mustangs were ignited by Evan Sanders, who buried five consecutive three pointers during the period to bring BIC all the way back, tying the game 29-29 with 58 seconds left before the break. Cory Turner's lay-in at the 39 second mark put the Mustangs on top for the first time, 31-29, but EPC's Jamal Rodgers answered with a pair of free throws with four seconds left to tie the game 31-31 heading into the final frame.
Dustyn Myers put BIC back on top early in the fourth quarter with a steal and a coast to coast drive for a lay-up, giving the Mustangs a 33-31 lead. Malone tied the score with an offensive stick-back, but Myers quickly answered with a three pointer to give BIC their last lead of the night, 36-33 with 4:09 to go.
Kyler Gordon buried a three of his own for the Warriors to tie the game 36-36 at the 3:08 mark. Malone put EPC back on top for good, hitting the front end of a one and one with 2:16 left. Rodgers followed with an offensive stick-back, and Malone gave EPC a 41-36 advantage with a driving lay-up at the 1:10 mark.
BIC fought back, pulling to within 42-40 on a Sanders free throw and a lay-in by Trey DePriest with 20 seconds left, but Malone iced the game with a pair of free throws at the 13 second mark to give the Warriors the title.
Malone scored a game high 21 points to lead EPC. Rodgers tallied nine, Gordon had eight, Montrell James scored six while J.D. Moore added one point. The Warriors finished 11-22 from the foul line and drilled a pair of three pointers.
Sanders finished with 15 points to lead the Mustangs, who finished the year with a 22-9 record. Myers also hit double digits, scoring 11 points. DePriest scored seven, Ryan Austin tallied three while Turner and Trevor Couch added two points apiece. The Mustangs hit seven of 15 foul shots and drained seven three pointers on the night.
"Everybody got their money's worth tonight," said Warrior Coach Josh Hill. "BIC started hitting threes and we went into panic mode. We missed too many shots and let them back in the game. It was fun for the crowd. Clay Malone showed his composure late and really came through for us. I am really proud of our kids."
"We made a great comeback in the third quarter," said BIC Coach Garrett Eoff. "We just needed a spark to ignite us, and Evan really got in a rhythm. The kids did a great job of getting him the ball and he put it in the hole. We had some late chances, but missed our free throws. I was proud of the kids for the way they came from behind, to be double digits down in the first half and come back and make a game of it in the fourth quarter was a good testament to these kids."
BIC knocked off Marked Tree 39-34 Monday night in first round action. Trey DePriest led the Mustangs with 11 while Ryan Austin chipped in 10 points. Evans Sanders scored nine, Dustyn Myers tallied four, Trevor Couch netted three while Cory Turner added two points.
DeAngelo Griffin scored a game high 18 points to lead the Indians.
BIC placed three players on the All-Conference team. Ryan Austin, Trey DePriest and Evan Sanders were all named to the 2A-3 All-Conference squad.
EPC also placed three players on the All-Conference team, including Clay Malone, Montrell James and Jamal Rodgers.
DeAngelo Griffin made the All-Conference team for Marked Tree.