Lady Mustangs advance to Regional tourney finals with wins over Salem, Riverside

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Buffalo Island Central kept its season long state title hopes alive with a hard fought 57-50 victory over Salem Friday afternoon in the 2A Regional Basketball Tournament at Sloan Hendrix High School in Imboden.

BIC's Cassidy Qualls drives past Riverside's Lauren Weaver as Lady Mustangs Brittany Fowler (24) and Emily Owens (51) look on in Saturday afternoon's regional semifinal at Sloan Hendrix.

The Lady Mustangs rode the early hot shooting of all-state guard Brittany Fowler to take a 12-8 lead after the first quarter of play. Salem came out strong in the second stanza when Paige Hollis drained a three pointer, followed by a conventional three point play by senior post Sidney Mitchum to take a 14-12 edge.

Fowler brought the Lady Mustangs right back with a pair of buckets to help BIC regain the lead, 16-14. The Mustangs held on to their advantage, taking a 23-20 lead into the dressing room at the half.

Mitchum began the second half with a pair of free throws to chop the BIC lead to one, but Fowler hit four consecutive charity tosses, followed by an Emily Owens bucket, to push the Lady Mustang lead to 29-22. Salem charged back with a basket from Whitney Ward and another trey by Hollis to pull to within 29-27, but the Lady Mustangs closed the period with a 9-2 run, capped off by Fowler's long three pointer to take a 38-29 lead into the final frame.

BIC held an eight point lead, 49-41, with 3:11 left in the game before Salem made one last attempt to steal the game away. Hollis began the Lady Greyhound comeback with her third trey of the afternoon, followed by three free throws from Ward to slice the Mustang lead to 49-47 with 58 seconds to go.

BIC had an answer, connecting on eight consecutive foul shots, two by Hannah Poe, four by Cassidy Qualls and the final two by Fowler, to send the Lady Mustangs to the state tournament for the sixth time in head coach Stan Fowler's seven years at the helm.

"I'm excited," said the BIC head coach. "This is the second straight year we have had to beat Salem to advance to the state tournament. Salem gave us a great game. Salem came to play and they came to win. I am just glad we got out of here with a win."

Fowler finished with a game high 25 points to lead the Lady Mustangs. Qualls scored nine, Owens had eight while Poe finished with seven. Shania Junyor tallied three, Brittany Stockton and Madison Greathouse contributed two points each while Katelyn Sparkman added one. BIC finished 21-30 from the foul line and hit one three pointer.

Mitchum led Salem with 20 points. The Lady Greyhounds connected on 19-26 free throws and drained a pair of three pointers.

BIC continued its run through the regionals, advancing to the finals with a 58-53 victory Saturday afternoon over archrival Riverside.

Brittany Fowler pumped in a game high 29 points to power the Lady Mustangs into the title game against Marmaduke Monday afternoon.

Fowler got the Lady Mustangs off to a hot start, scoring all 11 of BIC's first period points, giving her team an 11-8 lead after the opening period.

BIC built a 19-11 lead, sparked by Cassidy Qualls, who nailed a three pointer followed by a pull up 12-foot jumper. Riverside fought back, connecting on back to back treys by Chelsea Nichols and Lauren Weaver to cut the BIC lead to two. Wilson's 10-foot jump shot at 1:19 mark tied the game 21-21. Fowler and Nichols swapped treys before Qualls' free throw with no time left gave BIC a 25-24 halftime edge.

BIC took control in the third quarter with the help of long range bombs by sophomore Hannah Poe, along with six more Fowler points to take a 42-33 lead after three quarters. BIC connected on 12-17 foul shots in the final period and staved off a late Lady Rebel comeback to hold on for the win.

Joining Fowler in double figures for the Lady Mustangs was Qualls, who finished with 12. Poe had eight while Taylor McKuin, Katelyn Sparkman and Brittany Stockton all added three points apiece.

Wilson led the Lady Rebels with 17 points while Anna Brickell added 14. Nichols drained four treys on her way to 12 points. Weaver had seven while Natalie Milligan added three points.

The loss drops Riverside into the consolation game where they played Pangburn Monday afternoon.

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