Cougars claw past Mustangs 65-56
Sixth seeded Rector used a late surge to pull away from Buffalo Island Central, posting a 65-56 victory in the first round of the 2A-3 District Tournament Monday night at Marmaduke.
Mitchell Weber scored 13 of his game high 26 points in the fourth quarter, including a seven for seven performance from the foul line to help the Cougars advance to the quarterfinals.
The Cougars jumped to an early 16-15 edge after the first period behind the scoring of Weber and brother Reid, as the duo combined for 14 of Rector's first quarter points. BIC held a 15-11 lead after back to back buckets from Austin Pike late in the period, before Rector closed with a 5-0 run to take a one point lead.
Mitchell Weber began the second quarter with an inside basket and a long three pointer to push the Cougar lead to six. An Alan Carmichael basket cut the lead to four, but Alec Scott's three point play gave the Cougars a 24-17 lead with 5:17 left in the half.
BIC dialed up the defense the rest of the quarter, holding Rector scoreless, while going on a 9-0 run to grab a 26-24 lead heading into intermission.Nick Bollinger's three point play with 1:05 left in the half gave the Mustangs a two point edge.
Rector began the third quarter with back to back treys from Dillon Shelton and Daniel White, but BIC answered when Pike buried a three pointer, followed by a conventional three point play by Devon Ballin, giving the Mustangs a 32-30 lead midway through the quarter. The Mustangs maintained their lead and held a 41-39 advantage heading into the final period of play.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the fourth period until the Mustangs took a 53-50 lead with 2:35 left in the game. Mitchell Weber began the Cougar comeback with an inside bucket and followed with what turned out to be the play of the game on a steal and a coast to coast layup that resulted in a foul. Weber completed the three point play, giving the Cougars the lead for good, 55-53.
Scott connected on a pair of free throws to push the Rector lead to 57-53 with 1:05 left. Pike breathed life into the Mustangs one last time, drilling a three pointer with 56 seconds to go, but the Cougars put the game away, connecting on eight straight free throws in the last 43 seconds, including six straight by Mitchell Weber to seal the victory for the Cougars.
Joining Mitchell Weber in double figures for Rector was Scott with 14 points. Rector hit 25-32 foul shots and drained six treys on the night.
Pike led the Mustangs with 18 points while Jacob Sanders added 12. Devon Ballin scored nine, Carmichael and Bollinger chipped in six points apiece, Alex Ballin tallied three while Tyler Myers finished with two points. BIC hit 10-19 free throws and made four treys.
"I am very proud of our kids tonight," said BIC Coach Garrett Eoff. "They played extremely hard and gave a great effort. We missed some good opportunities on some open looks, and we missed some key free throws. Give credit to Rector. They played an excellent game and made shots down the stretch when they had to. I thought Devon Ballin really played well tonight. He gave us a good spark. I thought all the kids gave it their all. I couldn't be prouder of their effort."
Austin Pike was selected to the 2A-3 All-Conference team.